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CHICAGO (AP) - What's Mike Keenan's plan for getting the Calgary Flames even with the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference quarterfinals? No need to ask. It's confidential.
The Calgary coach was tightlipped on strategy Friday but did offer opinions about some of the calls - or lack thereof - in Chicago's 3-2 overtime victory Thursday night in Game 1.
Keenan didn't back down on his contention that Martin Havlat's winning goal 12 seconds into overtime was the result of interference by Chicago's Andrew Ladd against Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
"It's the same as it was last night. I think the rule - and correct me if I'm wrong - is to give the goaltender the ability to make a save. And in this instance Kipper (Kiprusoff) was not able to make the save because he was interfered with," Keenan said.
|2009 Conference Quarterfinal|
As Havlat was shooting from between the circles, Ladd was bumped backward by Calgary's Jordan Leopold and into Kiprusoff, who couldn't stop Havlat's shot.
Ladd insisted Friday he was knocked into the Calgary goalie. It's up to the officials to decide if he was bumped or didn't stop in time.
"That official has to make a split-second decision regarding that choice. He went with the decision that there wasn't goaltender obstruction, interference, whatever you want to call it," Keenan said
"I wanted to make room for Marty. I think it was Leopold who kind of pushed me and I tried to stop and he pushed me right into Kiprusoff. It worked out for us," Ladd said Friday. "It's up to the officials. In overtime, things happen quick. I thought it was the right call."
NHL Senior Vice President Colin Campbell said on the league's Web site Friday that calling or not calling interference is the officials' discretion.
"He's got to decide whether this was just incidental contact - allow the goal, no penalty - or (whether) it was contact made on purpose and take the goal down and give the player a penalty," Campbell said.
"In this case, he made a judgment call. And if he had made it the other way, you would have heard lots of arguments from the Chicago side. It's one those plays where you're going to get dissatisfaction one way or the other."
Expect both teams to trying crowding the crease in Saturday night's Game 2 at the United Center. It's what Chicago coach Joel Quenneville refers to as creating traffic.
"I'm sure they're going to go to the net hard and I'll just try to deal with it," Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin said Friday.
"I think everybody goes to the net and you've got to be respectful for what is and what isn't a penalty and what's going to deter goals," Quenneville said.
The rough-and-tumble Game 1 also featured a hit by Mike Cammalleri on Havlat after a faceoff, an action that Keenan called a "poor penalty."
But Keenan suggested there were two other plays officials either missed or didn't call. He claimed that Ladd punched Olli Jokinen in the face with no call and that Chicago's Dustin Byfuglien used his stick from behind the net to flip Kiprusoff off his feet late in the game.
"The couple of times they ran Kiprusoff over earlier in the game. It's certainly part of their game plan. It's a good plan if you get away with it and so far they have," Keenan said Thursday night.
Against a more much playoff experienced opponent, the Blackhawks were a bit sluggish and a tad nervous at the outset in the franchise's first playoff appearance in seven years. And it was the Flames who came out with a physical approach, one they no doubt will carry into Game 2.
But after the Blackhawks settled in, Calgary couldn't hold on to a pair of one-goal leads Thursday night, and Havlat tied it in regulation by scoring on his own rebound with just more than five minutes left. It was Chicago's fifth straight win over the Flames, including a 4-0 mark in the regular season.
Notes: Flames D Cory Sarich was a scratch from Game 1 and had missed the last six games of the regular season with a lower leg injury. He wants to play but isn't sure if he's ready. "It's getting better," he said Friday. "I'm hoping to gain a little more strength in there. The biggest thing is to be able to do my job and not be a hindrance to the team."