1-11 in their last 12 games of playoff overtime, 0-7 the past seven times they've played a potential series-clinching game with six of those losses coming in the extra frame. 0-4 the last four times they played the Canucks in a potential series-clinching game with all four losses coming in overtime.
But let's just throw all that out the window. It's one game now, one win to decide who moves on to the next round. If you talked to any Calgary Flames player, fan, coach or management in the middle of September and asked if they would take one win to reach the second round, every single person would say yes.
Sutter simply needs to refocus his troops. They have nothing to lose, especially after the valiant comeback in game six. They have already exceeded the expectations of everyone, with the exception being the 23 men sitting among them in the dressing room. If the Flames can play the way they have all season long they will put themselves in a great situation to accomplish what was once thought to be very improbable only six months ago.
Oh yeah, and the last four times the Flames played a game seven, it went into overtime, and the last six times the game seven was decided by a single goal. Buckle up and get ready for a ride. Win or lose, we're in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and this is what it's all about.
Enjoy the game.
FLAMES KEYS TO SUCCESS:
At the midway point of Saturday's game, the Flames were losing 4-0 and were outshot 22-6. In the second half of regulation time they scored four goals and fired 18 shots at Auld. If they direct pucks at the net chances are a few will go in.
All season long the Flames have bounced back from adversity. In particular, Kiprusoff has shut the door in games where he allowed four or more goals the game before. If they can do it just one more time, they will have separated themselves from Flames teams from the past decade and a half.
Make no mistake about it, Jarome Iginla played well Saturday night despite not finding the scoresheet. However, he needs to score tonight if the Flames hope to win.
This is the ninth time the Flames have played a game seven in franchise history. Here is a rundown of how the team has fared in the past:
May 19, 1995:San Jose Sharks 5 at Calgary Flames 4 (2OT) Heavily favoured going into the series, the Flames ended up outscoring the Sharks 35-26 overall in the series but ended up falling 5-4 on a Ray Whitney goal 1:56 into double overtime. For the second season in a row, the Flames were eliminated in double OT.
April 30, 1994:Vancouver Canucks 4 at Calgary Flames 3 (2OT) The Vancouver Canucks completed a comeback from a 3-1 series deficit by winning their third straight overtime game thus eliminating the Flames from the playoffs. Everybody remembers Pavel Bure's breakaway at 2:20 of double overtime.
April 16, 1991: Edmonton Oilers 5 at Calgary Flames 4 (OT) This one just might hurt the most. The Flames rallied from a 3-1 series deficit that included a dramatic overtime goal by Theoren Fleury in game six to force a seventh and deciding game. In the seventh game, the Flames carried the momentum from the win in game six and stormed out to a 3-0 lead in front of their home crowd. However, a 60-footer from Esa Tikkanen late in the first period got the Oilers back in it at 3-1 and Edmonton eventually tied the game at 4-4 to send it into overtime. Tikkanen scored just shy of seven minutes into the extra frame to vault the Oilers into the next round.
April 15, 1989: Vancouver Canucks 3 at Calgary Flames 4 (OT) Who doesn't remember this game? Stan Smyl stoned on a breakaway by Mike Vernon. Joel Otto standing in the crease above a fallen Kirk McLean with his arms raised, having scored the overtime winner. The Flames were ridiculously favoured in this series, with 43 more points than Vancouver during the regular season but the Canucks gave them everything they had and more in this opening playoff round. What resulted was a game seven that went down in history for both franchises.
May 14, 1986: St. Louis Blues 1 at Calgary Flames 2 The St. Louis Blues still remember the Monday Night Miracle. The Flames had the opportunity to win the series up 3-2 in game six and up 5-3 in the third period but two Blues goals, including the tying marker by Greg Paslawski, coupled with Doug Wickenheiser's overtime winner 7:30 into OT forced a seventh and deciding game. The Flames bounced back from a tough overtime defeat to win it seven.
April 30, 1986: Calgary Flames 3 at Edmonton Oilers 2 The last time the Flames had the opportunity to win a series at home in the sixth game was this Smythe Division Final match-up with Edmonton. The Oilers took game six at the Saddledome 5-2 and few people gave the Flames any hope of winning game seven in Edmonton two nights later. But the Flames believed, and a gaffe by Steve Smith midway through the third period led to Calgary's 3-2 victory.
April 22, 1984: Calgary Flames 4 at Edmonton Oilers 7 En route to their first Stanley Cup, the Edmonton Oilers crushed the Flames 7-4. In game six, a Lanny McDonald overtime goal 1:04 into overtime forced the seventh game but it was the Oilers who prevailed at home.
April 26, 1981: Calgary Flames 4 at Philadelphia Flyers 1 It was the Flames' first season in Calgary and there were no expectations at all so when the club reached the seventh game in the second round against the Philadelphia Flyers, few thought they would prevail particularly after having squandered a 3-1 series lead. Many thought a 3-2 defeat at home in game six was the team's final opportunity to pull this one out but Calgary played likely their best game of the season in taking a 4-1 victory at the Spectrum in hostile territory.
Calgary: Dean McAmmond (back) and Steve Reinprecht (shoulder) are both out for the rest of the season. Dave Lowry (abdomen), Toni Lydman (upper body), Chris Simon (leg) and Denis Gauthier are out for tonight.
Vancouver: Todd Bertuzzi (suspension) is out for the playoffs. Mats Lindgren (back) and Magnus Arvedson (knee) are done for the season. Dan Cloutier (ankle) is out.
This is Mike Keane's tenth game seven in a career that has included three Stanley Cup rings. He looked dangerous at times in overtime in game six and is the type of player who could step up his game and lead the Canucks to victory, scoring a crucial goal If Calgary would have won on Saturday, it would have been the second-biggest comeback in Stanley Cup playoffs history right behind the 5-0 third-period comeback in 1982 that was the Miracle on Manchester between the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings . Historically, the home team has won 62.3% (66-40) of the time in game sevens. In the opening round, that number increases to 63.9% (23-13) From the obscure stats file, It has only happened 12 times in NHL history where a game seven results from one team (Vancouver) winning games 1, 3 and 6 to get to the seventh and deciding game. That team's record is 6-6 in deciding games, however when the team winning games 1, 3 and 6 have had game seven at home, their record is 4-0 Saturday's game was the longest in Canucks history and second longest in Flames history. Jarome Iginla has been involved in the two longest playoff games in Flames history despite only playing in eight postseason games as a Flame. The other was the triple-overtime game against Chicago in 1996.
"Our guys have to be better and find ways to make improvements. We can't take moments off and open the door for them to get back in the game. We have to seal it shut. We did some things a lot better [Saturday] in our support and how we got to the net and got secondary chances. We have to do that again." Canucks head coach Marc Crawford.
"That building went nuts. The crowd got behind them. They got momentum. And Alex didn't blink. He just closed the door. I thought it was a very impressive display for a young goaltender." Canucks president and general manager Brian Burke on Auld's performance in game six.
"I think it's in the blood. When you're told there's something wrong with a helicopter, then told to take it up and see what you think, obviously, it's a different kind of pressure. Maybe that rubbed off a bit on me. But I talked to my mom last night and [dad] wasn't too calm watching the game [on Saturday night]." Canucks goaltender Alex Auld talking about his father, who was a helicopter test pilot for the Canadian Armed Forces in Cold Lake, Alberta.