Butterfly effect

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:19 PM ET

You could almost hear the pressure leaving the Brandon Wheat Kings' dressing room. Not all of it, mind you.

But the Wheaties' 6-4 win in Game 5 Friday night certainly alleviated a bit of weight from their shoulders and put it squarely on those of the Calgary Hitmen. Not that anyone wants to admit it.

Hitmen GM/head coach Kelly Kisio wasn't about to accept the hot potato following Friday's loss in Brandon.

"I don't think so," he said when asked if his team is under the gun heading into tomorrow's Game 6 at the Saddledome (7 p.m.). The Hitmen lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal 3-2.

"They're one loss away from being out of the playoffs. It would have been nice to put them away Friday but we know desperate hockey teams are like a wounded dog backed into a corner. We need to come out with our best stuff Monday."

Rookie Ryan White, who potted his first two career playoff goals Friday, also refused ownership of the 'playoff pressure' tag.

"We worked hard to be in the situation to be up 3-1," White said. "We still determine what's going to happen here. We're going home for Game 6 so I don't think the pressure is on us. I think the pressure's on them -- do or die. We still have two chances at them, they have one."

But there is no question Game 6 offers the Hitmen their best opportunity to close out the series. If they lose that one -- which would mark their first home-ice defeat in these playoffs -- the Hitmen would be forced to load up the bus for another gruelling trip east for Game 7.

The chips would be stacked against them.

Playing a one-game showdown in hostile territory. Against a Wheat Kings team that would have all the momentum and every reason to believe they could complete an improbable rally from a 3-1 series deficit.

Calgary product Ryan Stone, who has been booed relentlessly by the Saddledome crowd due to his concussion-inducing hit on

Hitmen d-man Brett Carson in Game 3, said the Wheat Kings will be relaxed when the puck drops tomorrow night.

They're getting used to this win-or-else stuff.

"We've got nothing to lose," Stone said. "We're playing like it's Game 7 every night now because if we lose, we're out. Hopefully, we can take that energy into Calgary."

Calgary captain Ryan Getzlaf, who is one point back of Wheaties sniper Eric Fehr for the playoff scoring lead, isn't looking past tomorrow's tilt.

But as for the pressure, he's not feeling any more now than he was on Friday.

"I would say there's pressure all the time," Getzlaf said.

"That was an elimination game Friday night and that's enough pressure for anybody.

"We're excited about going home. That's where we like to play.

"Any time you're back at home, you feel a little more comfortable and you can prepare a little better."

And there's another reason why he would like nothing better than to send the Wheaties back to Brandon -- alone -- tomorrow night.

"Nobody wants to make that 12-hour bus trip," Getzlaf said.


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