Vancouver goalie has played just 14 NHL games

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Vancouver Canucks started rookie goaltender Alex Auld on Thursday night, leaving Johan Hedberg on the bench for their playoff game against the Calgary Flames.

Hedberg, pressed into service because of an injury to starter Dan Cloutier, played in Vancouver's 4-0 loss to the Flames on Tuesday night. That evened the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series at 2-2.

Auld has played just 14 NHL games, spending most of this season with Manitoba of the AHL.

In six NHL appearances this season, he went 2-2-2 with a 2.06 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. Auld's lone playoff stint was filling in for Cloutier for one period last year.

Cloutier has a sprained right ankle and will be gone for at least the first round of the playoffs.

After the Thursday morning skate, Canucks coach Marc Crawford refused to say which goalie would start that night. But Hedberg said he would be surprised if he wasn't back in the nets.

"I expect to play," he said.

Hedberg replaced Cloutier late in the first period of Game 3 on Sunday. He stopped 19 of 20 shots and looked sharp in leading Vancouver to a 2-1 victory.

On Tuesday, Hedberg allowed three goals on 31 shots and looked shaky.

Crawford often has been cool toward Hedberg. He said the backup was terrible after a 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers earlier this season, though he later apologized for the remark.

A series of injuries resulted in Hedberg appearing in just 21 games this season. He had a 8-6-2 record with three shutouts and a 2.51 GAA. His career playoff record is 10-10 with two shutouts.