In spite of dominant play by Detroit early in the game, goaltender Mikka Kiprusoff allowed his Calgary Flames time to find their skating legs and climb back to a 2-1 overtime win.
Detroit was clearly the leading team in the first period, outshooting Calgary 13 to 2. The Flames, for their part, looked weary and unable to challenge Detroit or do much to defend their own net. Kiprusoff, fortunately for them, held his ground and kept the Red Wings off the scoreboard until the second period.
Robert Lang opened the scoring with 6:14 gone in the second. Brendan Shanahan carried the puck into the Flames’ zone, then centered a pass to Lang. Lang was being held up by defenseman Rhett Warrener as he pushed towards the net, but he held Warrener off with one arm and shot the puck towards the net with the other arm. The puck flew up and over Kiprusoff’s blocker arm.
Jarome Iginla had a good chance to tie the game at the end of a Calgary penalty. Martin Gelinas stepped out of the penalty box to join the charge up the ice, giving the Flames a three-on-one rush. Luckily for Curtis Joseph, Iginla’s shot rang off the crossbar.
Joseph’s luck didn’t hold, however, as Robyn Regehr tied the game with two minutes left in the second. Regehr shot the puck from the left point, through a screen of multiple players from both teams. Somehow the puck found its way through the mass of bodies, but Joseph was unable to see it until it was too late.
Chuck Kobasew nearly moved the Flames into the lead early in the third, but Joseph was able to get his leg pad down flat to the ice and hold steady while Kobasew whacked at the puck.
The Red Wings, as the game wore on, began to seem tired. The Flames, on the other hand, seemed to gain energy, and began to consistently beat the Red Wings to loose pucks and break up potential scoring plays by poking the puck away at the blue line.
Marcus Nilson’s first career playoff goal ended the game with just 2:39 gone into overtime. Gelinas beat Jiri Fisher to the puck behind the net. Mathieu Dandenault left the front of the net to help Fischer. As he did so, Gelinas threw the puck out front to Nilson coming up the left side. Nilson one-timed a shot which sailed into the net just over the top of Joseph’s catching glove.
Detroit outshot Calgary by a count of 29 to 18, and won 40 of the 68 faceoffs. Neither team was able to score on the power play: Detroit was 0 for 6 and Calgary was 0 for 3. The Red Wings and Flames will continue their conference semi-final series with Game Two Saturday afternoon at Joe Louis Arena.
Steve Thomas was out this game due to a groin injury. Jason Williams came into the lineup in his stead.