Crease gettin' crazy

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:54 PM ET

 If the first two games are any indication, it's open season on goaltenders.

 And Canucks defenceman Ed Jovanovski filled one of his tags Friday night.

  But while he's sure to be Public Enemy No. 1 with Calgary fans tonight, Flames players said Jovanovski, who ran over goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff in Game 2 and allowed Markus Naslund to score into the vacated cage, isn't on the hit list.

 "It's easy to see on the replay (it was a penalty)," said Flames rearguard Denis Gauthier. "It was one of those situations where the referee was probably looking at the puck and wasn't aware of what was going on in the crease.

 "It's time to move on. We found a way to keep our focus after that."

 After lodging a brief protest through captain Jarome Iginla, the Flames did an admirable job of protecting their 'tender the rest of the way.

 While certainly illegal, Gauthier wouldn't go as far to call the play 'dirty'.

 "It's just two desperate teams being very competitive and doing whatever it takes to win," he shrugged.

 "Guys are just trying to make things happen. You have to go in the paint and get dirty a little bit.

 "That's what makes winners.

 "Our defence has to do a solid job of clearing the crease and make sure Kipper sees every puck."

 Kiprusoff isn't the only goaltender battling for space.

 The Flames were accused of crashing the Vancouver crease in both games.

 In fact, Calgary opened the scoring early in Game 2 after Chris Simon steamrolled his way across the top of the crease and took Dan Cloutier's stick with him. Iginla took advantage of the extra room to give the Flames an early 1-0 lead.

 "There's been a lot of stuff happen at both ends and the officials are trying to deal with it the best they can," said Flames d-man Robyn Regehr."

 "We can't worry about it too much. Our focus is on winning hockey games."

 With both teams intent on disrupting the opposing goaltender's concentration, clearing bodies from in front of the net has become top priority.

 "You always want to do a geat job in front of your goalie," Regehr said.

 "One of your main jobs as a defenceman is to let the goalie see the puck and clear the rebounds.

 "But we're still giving up too many opportunities.

 "They had two great chances in the first couple of minutes and we can't allow that to happen."


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