CALGARY, Alberta (AP)—Special teams and special goaltending.
The Calgary Flames used both to even their first-round playoff series with Vancouver on Tuesday night, beating the Canucks 4-0 in Game 4.
The Flames, winning a home playoff game for the first time since 1995, scored two goals 27 seconds apart in the second period. Their power play, silenced for the first 22 chances, also came alive in Calgary’s first win at home against the Canucks in 11 tries.
The series resumes Thursday with Game 5 at Vancouver.
Coming back from a lower-body injury, Yelle helped clear the puck out of the Flames’ zone and then took a pass from Clark before burying the puck pastVancouver goalie Johan Hedberg.
“Chris Clark made a great play, I got the puck in the slot and just shot it,” said Yelle. “It feels good to score short-handed and get the team going.”
With two Stanley Cup rings in seven seasons with the Colorado Avalanche before being traded to Calgary in 2002, Yelle is one of the most experienced players on a young Flames team.
“We’ve worked hard at our overall game this year and I think we have a team that’s prepared for the playoffs,” he said. “Tonight, our preparation and focus was good, and we stuck to our game for 60 minutes and it paid off.”
Yelle scored just one minute into the second period against Hedberg, who faced 31 shots in his first full playoff game for Vancouver after replacing injured Dan Cloutier in Game 3 on Sunday night.
“We have a lot of young guys in the room,” Calgary’s Shean Donovan said of Yelle, “and we look up to him a lot to add that leadership.”
Calgary’s penalty killers had been roundly criticized after the first three games of the series, with Vancouver scoring on six of 15 power plays. But the addition of Yelle, who replaced injured power forward Chris Simon, appeared to stabilize the unit, which was fifth in the league for short-handed goals during the season.
Calgary’s second goal, on the power play, came on a right-wing blast by Clark. And 27 seconds later, Donovan put the Flames ahead by three.
But Donovan credited Yelle with turning the game in Calgary’s favor.
“Obviously he’s one of the best penalty killers in the league,” Donovan said.
In an attempt to generate some offense, Vancouver pulled Hedberg with more than three minutes left in the third period. But Calgary responded with an empty-net goal by Jarome Iginla.
Game 4 followed the same gritty, hard-hitting play of the first three. And the pace was set early when Iginla crashed Vancouver defenseman Mattias Ohlundhard into the boards twice on one shift.
Ohlund has shadowed Iginla effectively through most of the series.
“I thought we got outbattled for some pucks in our zone,” said Canucks coach Marc Crawford. “I was concerned about the slippage in coverage and you can’t have that in the playoffs.”
Canucks forward Brendan Morrison said Calgary won more of the one-on-oneconfrontations throughout the game.
“They were better than us in the battles,” he said. “They were more
^Notes: Martin Gelinas leads the Flames in playoff experience with 124 games in 15 years in the NHL. … Defenseman Toni Lydman, hurt in Game 3, is out with a suspected concussion, and was replaced by Mike Commodore. It was the first NHL playoff game for the 24-year-old Commodore. … Tuesday’s attendance inCalgary was 19,289, the 12th straight sellout at the Saddledome.