Canucks backup stops 19 shots


CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- When Dan Cloutier limped off the ice
near the end of the first period, the Vancouver Canucks had no
choice. They had to turn to backup goalie Johan Hedberg.

Hedberg then turned in a solid performance, stopping 19 shots in
a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Sunday night. The win gave
the Canucks a 2-1 first-round series lead, with Game 4 set for Calgary on Tuesday night.

Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said Hedberg was able to get
mentally prepared to play after the first period.

"I think he knew he was going to be the guy, obviously,"
Crawford said, "and that helps, too, because you're not wondering
if the goalie's coming back in the game or not. He knew he was
going to get the ball, and he ran with it well."

Late in the scoreless opening period, Cloutier stopped a shot by
Calgary's Oleg Saprykin. But as the puck rebounded out front,
Cloutier appeared to wrench his knee scrambling to reach it.

Cloutier's condition was termed a "lower body injury" by the
team. Whatever it was, the goaltender was helped off the ice and did not return.
Third-stringer Alex Auld appeared on the bench early in the second

After letting in the one goal, Hedberg, who was dealt to
Vancouver from the Pittsburgh Penguins last summer, was unbeatable.

As a rookie in 2002, Hedberg started all 18 games for the Penguins
as they went to the Eastern Conference final before losing to New

"That run with Pittsburgh has really helped me throughout my
career," Hedberg said. "I draw on that experience all the time.
You've been there once, you know what it's about, how long the
series are, not to get too high or too low."

Calgary defenseman Andrew Ference said his team has plenty of
respect for Hedberg.

"We're not licking our chops," he said. "He's a great goalie,
and we're just going to have to do the same things: drive the net,
shoot the puck lots and just focus more on our team than who's in
their net."

Matt Cooke's third-period goal won it for the Canucks.

Cooke -- playing on Vancouver's top line with Markus Naslund and
Brendan Morrison since the start of the playoffs, replacing suspended Todd Bertuzzi -- put the Canucks ahead at 1:29 of the third period.

"Anytime you play with guys that skilled, it's so much fun,"
Cooke said.

"I just wanted to drive through and maybe create an opening,"
Cooke said of his winning goal off a pass from Morrison. "I just
poked it with the toe of my stick, and it got ahead of me. I just
caught up with it and tried to get it on net as fast as I could."<

Hedberg faced a rough welcome into the game, letting in his
second shot just 1:04 into the second period. Calgary's Chris Simon
scored his second goal of the playoffs, converting a goalmouth pass
from Jarome Iginla.

But the Canucks, who have not lost in 10 consecutive games at
the Calgary Saddledome, were quick to counter a minute later with
their sixth power-play goal of the series.

Naslund popped a wide rebound past Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff after a hard slap shot by defenseman Ed Jovanovski.

It was Calgary's first home playoff contest in eight years. And
the fans turned up in force. The sellout crowd of 19,289, most of
them adorned in Flames red, was deafening throughout the game,
encouraged by a new, $1 million power ring installed at the
Saddledome in time for the playoffs.

Ference said the Flames are not disappointed by their effort
Sunday night.

"Of course you want to win, but it's a seven-game series and as
a team we're focused on the long-term goal, and that's to win four
games," he said. "It was a great hockey game out there, it was a
close battle, and one shift we turned the puck over and they put it

Game notes
Calgary was scoreless in seven power plays, while
Vancouver was 1-for-4 with the man advantage. ... The last time
Calgary played a home playoff game was April 23, 1996 against
Chicago. The Flames lost in triple overtime to be swept from the
first-round series . . . Calgary has lost six consecutive
postseason overtime games . . . Calgary center Craig Conroy left
Sunday night in the second period, then returned in the third
wearing a full visor.