Calgary Coach Terry Crisp has urged Al MacInnis to take more shots, and it was the defense-man's bullet in overtime that killed the Chicago Blackhawks Monday night.
MacInnis, streaking down the right side on the power play, took a pass from Theoren Fleury and fired a slap shot from the right circle past the stick side of Alain Chevrier at 15:05 of the extra session, lifting the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 victory and a 3-1 advantage in their Stanley Cup semifinal series."Every game the coach keeps telling me to shoot," said MacInnis, who also set up Doug Gilmour for Calgary's first goal. "On the power play, you don't want to be selfish and shooting all the time. But what can I say? It's a big thrill and a big win for us."
"Anytime Al MacInnis has the puck, he's dangerous," said Crisp, who labeled his shot "a silver blur . . . lightning."
The best-of-seven Campbell Conference final shifts back to the Olympic Saddledome in Calgary for Game 5 Wednesday night, with the Flames looking to advance to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in four years.
Game 6, if necessary, returns to Chicago on Friday night.
MacInnis's shot, Calgary's sixth of the overtime session to Chicago's two, silenced the noisy sellout crowd of 18,472. It came 1:08 after Blackhawk defenseman Trent Yawney was sent off for delay of game for catching the puck on the fly and holding it.
"I tried to just hit it out of the air, and I got it in my glove and he thought I closed my hand on the puck," a discouraged Yawney said of referee Andy van Hellemond. "He makes the call. I screwed up."
"It was in my glove, but what am I supposed to do with it? I mean, I either let it go by me and it goes into our own end, which would probably be the smartest play. But it's a reaction-type game. . . . I'll have to live with it."
The Blackhawks had a power-play opportunity midway through the overtime but failed to get a shot on goal. It was their 10th power play of the night.
"It's a tough loss. But if you look at it objectively, they deserved to win because they were able to score on the power play, and we weren't," said Blackhawks Coach Mike Keenan.