In the storied history of the Calgary Flames, playoff success has been few and far between. Five years (and a day) ago, the Flames won their first playoff round since 2004. The series-clinching goal was scored by heart-and-soul center Matt Stajan, propelling the Flames to a 7-4 victory over Vancouver in probably the craziest game I have ever covered.
After going down 4-1, the Flames managed to stage a dramatic comeback. Here’s just the third period from our recap:
The Flames began the third in much the same manner they spent the bulk of the second: in their own zone, trying desperately to muster a clean zone exit. However, they did end up generating some rushes. On one such rush, the physical play of the Hudler line generated a Nick Bonino penalty, which resulted in Calgary’s first power-play goal of the game – and the game-tying marker. Gaudreau had a scoring chance that Ryan Miller completely bit on, allowing Hudler to calmly roof the rebound to tie the game. The remainder of the period was back-and-forth, with the Flames finally breaking through five minutes left, as Matt Stajan jammed home a rebound following a Michael Ferland scoring chance to give Calgary a slim 5-4 lead. The Canucks pulled Ryan Miller and attempted to tie it up, but the Flames added a pair of empty netters – from Jiri Hudler and Michael Ferland – to skate away with a massive 7-4 comeback win at home.
The game rapidly went from looking like it would need overtime – potentially multiple periods of it – to being a fairly decisive win. Stajan’s goal came on a great shift from his line with David Jones and Micheal Ferland that saw all of them get scoring chances, ending with Stajan settling the bouncing puck down and picking the far side of the net.
Stajan’s goal was just the 16th series-winning goal in franchise history. He’s one of just 14th player in Flames history to score a series-clinching goal.