Game 90
Empire 3
Sharks 4
BoxScore
Game 91
Canucks 4
Inferno 2
BoxScore
Next Games
Empire
Sharks
9 PM

VAN GO

CALGARY - The city of Vancouver has hosted XHL Cup Finals games before when the Vipers called the city home, but never have they had a team as balanced from top to bottom as this year's Vancouver Canucks.

The Canucks moved one win away from their first trip to the XHL Cup Finals as Evgeni Nabokov stopped 35 of 37 shots to lead Vancouver to a 4-2 win in Calgary over the Inferno, along with a 3-1 series lead.

"It's definitely exciting, but we know there's work to be done," said Henrik Sedin. "This is a tough team that beat two very talented teams already, and there's no reason they can't come back. But we know we'll be at home, and we'll have our fans behind us, so we're confident."

Henrik, along with Daniel Sedin, each had two points (goal, assist) while Ales Hemsky (goal, assist) and Bobby Ryan (two assists) as the Canucks took a big lead before nearly blowing it, only to get a late insurance marker that pushed the Inferno to the brink of elimination back in Vancouver on Wednesday night.

The city of Vancouver played host to the XHL Cup Finals in 2007 and 2010 when the Vancouver Vipers, now the Los Angeles Speed Kings, called the city home, but the franchise now known as the Vancouver Canucks has never made it to the XHL Cup Finals. That could change on Wednesday however.

The Canucks started strong in the first as Hemsky opened the scoring with his third of the playoffs at 11:28, and then Vancouver added to their lead at 17:28 on Alexander Edler's first of the playoffs to make it 2-0 after one.

Calgary out-shot Vancouver 12-7 in the second, but the Canucks added onto their lead early in the period when Henrik Sedin redirected home a Bobby Ryan shot at 5:47 for his seventh of the playoffs to make it 3-0 before the Inferno finally broke through at 11:16 on Matt Stajan's fifth of the playoffs to cut their deficit to 3-1 after two.

The Inferno would then go on the power play following a Jaromir Jagr slashing call at 8:07, and Sven Bartschi would score on the man advantage at 9:26 for his second of the playoffs as Calgary cut their deficit to 3-2.

Following the goal, Calgary would proceed to mount significant offensive pressure on Nabokov, but the Canucks goalie did his best to keep Vancouver ahead, and the game remained 3-2.

Then after a Matt Stajan roughing call at 13:45, the Canucks went on the power play, and due to another deflection - this time from Henrik Sedin winning the faceoff, passing to Bobby Ryan and tapped home by Daniel Sedin, the Canucks struck on the power play at 15:16 for Sedin's 14th of the playoffs to make it 4-2.

That would end up being as close as Calgary would get as the Canucks moved to within a win of the XHL Cup Finals.

EMPIRE ON THE SHORT END - Normally, when a team gets a power play, it's a positive thing that can result in quality scoring chances and sometimes actual goals. For the New York Empire, it's been the reason they are now one game from being swept.

Tied at 2 in the second, the Empire gave up their third shorthanded goal in two games as Travis Zajac tallied for the Las Vegas Sharks en route to a 4-3 win that puts Las Vegas ahead 3-0 in the National Conference Finals.

Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel scored goals for New York as they went up 2-0, but they blew that led as former Empire farmhand Teddy Purcell scored twice to give him four goals in the series. Zajac then beat Cam Talbot for the shorthanded goal and Brad Boyes made it 4-2 late in the period for Las Vegas.

Ryan O'Reilly got the Empire within a goal in the third, but despite 15 third period shots for New York, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers turned aside all but one of them as the Sharks moved within a win of their first Finals appearance in franchise history. Game 4 is Tuesday night.

2015 XHL CUP PLAYOFFS

Tuesday, August 4 - GAME 4 - All times Eastern - Simming at approx. 11:42 PM.

New York (white) at Las Vegas (alternate) - 9 PM - NBCSN, CBC
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