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GAME: Calgary Flames at Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinals; Flames lead 2-1.
TIME: Thursday, 10 p.m. EDT.
Kristian Huselius had never been to the postseason before the Calgary Flames came calling.
Now he has them on the verge of taking a 3-1 lead over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the Western Conference quarterfinals as the teams meet for Game 4 at Arrowhead Pond.
Huselius, a former second-round pick by Florida in 1997, spent his first three-plus seasons with the Panthers before being acquired in December by the Flames.
The right wing made an immediate impact, totaling 15 goals and 39 points in 54 regular-season games to trail only Jarome Iginla (43) and Daymond Langkow (42) in points over that span.
Huselius has registered at least a point in each playoff game and leads the Flames with two goals and three assists. He assisted on Darren McCarty's overtime goal in a 2-1 win in Game 1 last Friday, scored his first goal of the series in a 4-3 loss in Game 2 on Sunday and had a goal and two assists in Calgary's 5-2 win in Game 3 on Tuesday.
"You need to get a few good bounces, but I thought (Huselius) was really controlling it early," said Iginla, who assisted on Huselius' goal and has four points. "He ended up with a few big points, got us going out there and got the confidence up."
The Flames' power-play unit, two days after scoring twice on a season-high 12 chances in Game 2, went 3-for-7 with the man advantage as Langkow, Huselius and Robyn Regehr all scored.
"Thank goodness our power play smartened up," said Regehr. "There are a lot of penalties being called and we need to continue to improve on special teams."
Regehr, who also assisted on Huselius' goal at 1:25 of the second to give the Flames a 2-1 lead, scored at 5:33 of the third for his second career multi-point playoff game and first since he had two assists in a 5-4 triple-overtime first-round loss to Vancouver on April 17, 2004.
The Mighty Ducks finally had success on the power play as Francois Beauchemin scored twice with the man advantage to erase 1-0 and 2-1 deficits. But Anaheim, which was 0-for-11 on the power play in the first two games, could not sustain that momentum.
"Tonight was a typical game where we got outworked, and that hasnt happened to our group very often," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "So you have to give the opposition credit."
Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 27 shots to outperform Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who had 19 stops in his second straight start after missing Game 1 due to a lower-body injury.
Giguere, who had 22 saves in a Game 2 win, allowed five goals for just the second time in 23 career playoff starts. It was also a rare poor postseason performance at home for Giguere, who entered the game 9-1 with a 1.27 goals-against average lifetime in the playoffs at Arrowhead Pond.
The Flames haven't won back-to-back games at Anaheim since 1995-96 and are just 4-9-2 with five ties on the road in the series since, including the Game 3 win.
Game 5 will be played Saturday night at Calgary.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Flames - 103 points; 3rd seed. Mighty Ducks - 98 points; 6th seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Flames - Huselius and McCarty, 2 goals; Huselius and Iginla, 3 assists; Huselius, 5 points; McCarty and Rhett Warrener, 8 PIM. Mighty Ducks - Beauchemin, 2 goals; Todd Marchant, Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer, 2 assists; Beauchemin and Niedermayer, 3 points; Joffrey Lupul, 9 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Flames - Power play: 20.8 percent (5 for 24). Penalty killing: 90.0 percent (18 for 20). Mighty Ducks - Power play: 10.0 percent (2 for 20). Penalty killing: 79.2 percent (19 for 24).
GOALTENDERS: Flames - Kiprusoff (2-1, 2.22 GAA); Brian Boucher (no appearances). Mighty Ducks - Giguere (1-1, 4.03); Ilya Bryzgalov (0-1, 1.71).
|Apr 21 '06||ANA 1 at CGY 2 - OT|
|Apr 23 '06||ANA 4 at CGY 3|
|Apr 25 '06||CGY 5 at ANA 2|
|Apr 27 '06||CGY 2 at ANA 3 - OT|
|Apr 29 '06||ANA 2 at CGY 3|
|May 01 '06||CGY 1 at ANA 2|
|May 03 '06||ANA 3 at CGY 0|
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