Jovo public enemy No. 1

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:03 PM ET

 VANCOUVER -- The Flames returned to Calgary early this morning with a win and a major enemy in tow.

 Despite the fact Calgary evened the best-of-seven series at 1-1 with a 2-1 win at GM Place, plenty of talk after the game revolved around defenceman Ed Jovanovski committing the first major foul of the series by stepping into the crease to level goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.

  The indiscretion came on a powerplay midway through the second period with the Flames nursing a 2-0 lead, when Jovanovski skated into the goalmouth paint that's supposed to protect netminders and delivered a blatant bodycheck on the defenceless 'keeper. Kiprusoff was sent sprawling to the ice, enabling Canucks captain Markus Naslund to score into an open net, bringing the crowd back into the game and breathing new life into the host club.

 Referee Kerry Fraser watched the whole thing and instead of pointing to the net to indicate a goal, he had a lengthy discussion with his officiating partner as they skated to the timekeeper's bench. Instead of reviewing the play, he let the goal stand despite protests from Kiprusoff and captain Jarome Iginla.

 The only justification for Fraser's blind eye might've revolved around the Flames first goal, in which Chris Simon made contact with Dan Cloutier at the top of his crease and dragged him over just enough to allow Iginla to open the scoring three minutes in.

 "I thought I knew what obstruction and goaltender interference was this morning but now I'm not so sure what it is," shot Flames coach Darryl Sutter.

 "I don't know what to say -- I was really surprised he hit me but it doesn't matter because we won the game," added Kiprusoff, who made 25 saves, many of them stunning.

 "Hopefully they're going to call those."

 The two incidents were the latest in a series of liberties taken on goaltenders the first two games -- a trend officials appear in no hurry to curb.

 "I don't think the ref saw it because he was looking at the puck so I can't blame him," said Denis Gauthier, following the first playoff win of his career. "But at the same time it was pretty obvious -- there was no defenceman around."

 Displaying tremendous character, Kiprusoff and the Flames shook off the major foul by hanging tough the balance of a brilliantly played period that featured end-to-end action and plenty of netminding heroics.

 "We tried hard not to let it affect us because it was already a tense game," said Gauthier, who had his hands full of forwards crashing the net all night.

 "It was a battle. If that's what playoff hockey is about, that was a lot of fun."

 The NHL's crackdown on obstruction, stick fouls and every other minor infraction continued as the two teams combined for 14 minors.

 While the Canucks powerplay featured more great puck movement and forced Kiprusoff to come up big on several occasions, Calgary's powerplay steadily improved as the night progressed. Rewarding his youngsters for a second straight night of inspiring play, Oleg Saprykin, Chuck Kobasew and Matthew Lombardi saw plenty of quality powerplay time behind Iginla, Craig Conroy and Chris Simon.

 Lombardi's winning goal 3:56 into the game came 50 ticks after Iginla's opening crowd-silencer.

 Iginla was a force all night, responding well to Sutter's latest challenge by throwing his weight around, minding his own end of the ice and lurking dangerously in Vancouver's zone. Kiprusoff answered mild criticism from Game 1 in similar fashion, positioning himself well to see perimeter shots that eluded him Game 1.

 Despite being rocked by Jovanovski, he returns home the star of Game 2.

 And Jovo will arrive in Calgary Public Enemy No. 1.


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