Game One: Calgary 2, Anaheim 1 (OT)
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - Darren McCarty scored 9:45 into overtime to give the Calgary Flames a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Friday night in the opening game of their Western Conference playoff series.
McCarty skated freely into the Ducks zone and one-timed a pass from Kristian Huselius by Ilya Bryzgalov, a surprise starter for the Mighty Ducks.
"Every now and then I'll bang one of those in and it just seems to be at the right time," McCarty told CBC. "We're used to playing close games.
"It's a grind. It starts off that way, that's the way it is for the next two months, and there's nothing better."
Game 2 will be in Calgary on Sunday night.
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Anaheim's No. 1 goalie, practiced in the morning but missed the game with what the team called a lower-body injury. Bryzgalov was solid in his place, finishing with 28 saves.
Tony Amonte scored in the second period for the Flames, and Jeff Friesen got Anaheim even in the third with a strange goal at 5:17.
Breaking down the wing, Rob Niedermayer's attempted pass deflected off the stick of Calgary defenseman Roman Hamrlik and sailed toward the Flames net. Friesen batted it out of the air and knocked it past Miikka Kiprusoff.
It was only Friesen's second goal in 18 games for the Mighty Ducks since being acquired from Washington at the trade deadline.
Opening the playoffs at home for the first time since 1995, Calgary took the ice to a standing ovation from the sellout crowd.
Bryzgalov had started only one of the Ducks' final 14 regular-season games, but he didn't look rusty.
Calgary ran up a 7-0 advantage on the shot clock in the game's first 10 minutes, but the 25-year-old Russian Olympian was equal to the task. One of Bryzgalov's best stops came early when he jabbed out a pad to thwart Byron Ritchie from the top of the crease after the Flames center was set up by Chris Simon.
The Flames took a 1-0 lead at 6:17 of the second period.
Deep in his own end, Ducks winger Teemu Selanne attempted to fire the puck around the end boards but the clearing attempt was intercepted by Jarome Iginla.
Iginla zipped a pass in front that caromed off the skate of Flames forward Matthew Lombardi and went straight to a wide open Amonte, who beat Bryzgalov with a low shot for his 21st career playoff goal.
Kiprusoff was brilliant through the first two periods as Calgary held the lead after 40 minutes despite being outshot 24-17.
Selanne was the most dangerous player on the ice but was not able to solve his Finnish countryman despite numerous good scoring chances. He had a breakaway 2 minutes into the second period that Kiprusoff stopped with a pad.
Calgary and Anaheim are the last two teams to represent the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup final. The Flames lost in seven games to Tampa Bay in 2004 and the Ducks fell to New Jersey the year before in a series that also went seven games.
Notes: Backing up Bryzgalov was 26-year-old Nathan Marsters, who was recalled from Portland of the AHL. ... McCarty played in his team-leading 151st postseason game. Stephane Yelle ranks second at 135 games. Four Flames (Huselius, Dion Phaneuf, Jamie Lundmark and Ritchie) appeared in their first career playoff game. ... At 147 games, D Scott Niedermayer leads Anaheim in postseason experience. Including Bryzgalov, nine Mighty Ducks made their playoff debut. ... Calgary entered having lost its playoff opener eight consecutive times. This was the Flames' first opening win since 1988 when they beat the Los Angeles Kings 9-2.