Lack helps Canucks top Flames 4-1, even series
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Tempers flared and fists flew - and the tone might have been set for the rest of the first-round playoff series between the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames.
Eddie Lack made 22 saves and the Canucks defeated the Flames 4-1 on Friday night to even their first-round playoff series at a game apiece.
Daniel Sedin, Chris Higgins, Ronalds Kenins and Radim Vrbata - into an empty net - scored for the Canucks , who snapped a seven-game losing streak at home in the playoffs dating to the 2011 Stanley Cup final.
But afterward, most of the talk revolved around a brawl late in the third period that resulted in 132 minutes in penalties, including six game misconducts - three of which went to Calgary's Deryk Engelland.
''It was pretty intense tonight,'' Canucks rookie Bo Horvat said. ''The hard hitting, the stuff at the end, it was like old-time hockey and it was fun to be a part of.''
The fisticuffs started with 1:17 left on the clock and were reminiscent of the rumble between the Canucks and Flames off an opening faceoff last season.
''We knew they were going to try something. They've tried it before,'' Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin said. ''I'm sure it's going to happen again. That's part of it. We move onto the next game.''
Among the combatants, Vancouver's Brad Richardson took on Calgary's Matt Stajan, while Engelland squared off with the Canucks' Derek Dorsett.
''Intensity's high. It's playoff hockey. You expect things to kind of boil over,'' said Dorsett. ''We stuck up for each other and we took care of things when we had to.''
Kris Russell scored late in the third period for the Flames to end Lack's shutout bid.
Jonas Hiller made 26 saves for Calgary before giving way to Karri Ramo, who came in with 5:52 remaining in the game and finished with two saves.
Calgary hosts Game 3 on Sunday.
''Regardless of what people are talking about, we got a big win,'' Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. ''We got a win where we felt like we outplayed them for the whole game.''
In what Daniel Sedin described as a ''must-win game'' earlier in the day, the Canucks came out flying and grabbed the lead just 2:56 into the first period in front of a raucous and towel-waving crowd at Rogers Arena.
Henrik Sedin found an opening to feed his twin brother, who roofed a shot on Hiller for his first playoff goal since Game 2 of the 2011 Stanley Cup - a stretch of 13 contests.
''They had great momentum during the entire game, it was tough to get a good scoring chance on those guys,'' Flames coach Bob Hartley said. ''They deserve the credit.''
The Canucks , who lost consecutive games in regulation just once after the All-Star break, doubled the lead at 7:06 on the power play when Higgins snapped a playoff scoring slump of his own by banging home a loose puck from the slot. The goal was his first in the postseason since Game 2 of the 2011 Western Conference semifinal - a span of 20 games - and his first point in 16 playoff contests.
Vancouver had also lost six straight in the postseason and 11 of its last 12 before Friday.
Lack faced just three shots in the first, but had to defend himself in the second after making a save off a scramble in front. Brandon Bollig piled into the Vancouver goalie in a scrum only to see Lack respond with blocker punches in the melee as fans chanted ''Eddie! Eddie!''
''The boys battled hard from start to finish,'' said Lack, who picked up his first playoff win. ''I got run over a couple times, I gave a couple hits, too.''
Yannick Weber came close to making it 3-0 for Vancouver with 5:45 left in the second when his shot from the point rang off the post behind Hiller.
Calgary came from behind to win when trailing after 40 minutes an impressive 10 times this season and accomplished the same feat in Game 1, but Kenins scored his the first playoff goal of his career 2:17 into the third before Russell buried his second of the series for Calgary at 16:26 on a power play to cut the lead to 3-1.
Vrbata scored into an empty net with 2:01 remaining before all 10 skaters dropped their gloves.
NOTES: Vancouver went 1 for 3 on the power play, while the Flames failed to convert on their only chance with the man-advantage. ... The Flames are without five regulars, including injured captain and top defenseman Mark Giordano.