Welcome to Calgary Flames hockey in round two of the playoffs.
The last time we could say that, the Berlin Wall was still standing and the Soviet Union was still around. The U.S. President was George Bush (the other one) and the city of Calgary was one year removed from hosting the Winter Olympics.
Going back even further, this series could probably be compared closest to the 1986 clash between the Flames and Oilers. Calgary was 30 points behind Edmonton that year and had gone 1-6-1 against them in the regular season, scoring 72 less goals and allowing five more. In game one of that series, the gritty Flames pulled out a 4-1 shocker.
Detroit scored 55 more goals than the Flames during the regular season (although the Flames scored seven more in the opening round of the playoffs). Calgary allowed 13 less while Detroit finished 15 points up on Calgary in the standings.
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The Red Wings haven't played since Saturday while the Flames are still riding high from Tuesday's victory. It could be a good opportunity to go ahead early while Detroit finds their legs.
It's a cliché but it's true. The Flames have nothing to lose. The team already surpassed expectations by simply making the playoffs. Winning their first playoff round in 15 years was a huge bonus. Detroit as always is under immense pressure to go all the way. That goes double for Curtis Joseph.
Continuing with the strong forecheck that rattled the Canucks is a must. The best way for the Flames to win this series is steal a few games early, grind the Wings down over time and win the crucial games late.
The Flames are hurting on the back end. With Lydman and Gauthier both out it makes things more difficult with a largely untested top six that includes Leopold, Regehr, Warrener, Ference, Commodore and Montador. However, Regehr and Leopold have really stepped it up in these playoffs and are bringing more to the table than they did in the regular season. Look for them to approach 30 minutes per game in this series as they match up against Detroit's dangerous attack.
EVERYBODY SHOULD KNOW...
In second round playoff match-ups historically, the Flames have a record of 3-3 (21 wins, 23 losses overall) with their only series losses coming against the Edmonton Oilers. They defeated Philadelphia 4-3 in 1981, fell to Edmonton 4-1 in 1983, fell to Edmonton 4-3 in 1984, defeated Edmonton 4-3 in 1986, fell to Edmonton 4-0 in 1988 and defeated Los Angeles 4-0 in 1989.
Detroit's big guns were largely silenced last round. Pavel Datsyuk went scoreless, Yzerman, Shanahan and Whitney each had one goal and even Lang and Hull only had two goals each, which was good enough to lead the club.
Calgary: Dean McAmmond (back) and Steve Reinprecht (shoulder) are both out for the rest of the season. Dave Lowry (abdomen) and Denis Gauthier (leg) are out. Toni Lydman (upper body) and Chris Simon (leg) could return later on in the series.
Detroit: Dominik Hasek (groin) has been out since December. Other injuries include Niklas Kronwall (leg), Jason Woolley (back) and Mark Mowers (foot) all out for this series.
An overtime game between these two teams just might last forever, with Detroit holding a 2-9 record the last 11 times they went to OT while the Flames have won once in eight overtime affairs, that being Monday night of course… The Red Wings scored five goals on 26 shots in the first period of games five and six against Nashville… Steve Yzerman with his last goal broke a tie with Gordie Howe to become the highest scorer in Wings playoff history… Jarome Iginla scored a goal in each of Calgary's wins last round while Robert Lang had at least a point in each of Detroit's victories and was held scoreless in their two losses… Detroit's blueliners did a great job containing Scott Walker last round, holding him to one point… If this series comes down to a game six, historically Detroit is 10-0 in game sixes when it's in a position to clinch a series… With 102 career playoff goals, Brett Hull is behind only Jari Kurri (106), Mark Messier (109) and Wayne Gretzky (122) in NHL playoff history.
"He's as tough a player as there is in the league right now. It's not easy to score goals these days. When you score 40 (41) goals like he did, that's pretty rare." – Red Wings defenceman Mathieu Schneider on Jarome Iginla.
"You can't just have one person against him. We have two veteran sets of defense we can use. We'll need two or three (forward) lines to play against him." – Wings coach Dave Lewis on the strategy he'll employ to shut down Iginla.
"He's definitely the best power forward in the league right now. With his speed, it's tough to outskate him. With his strength, it's tough to overpower him. With his heart, there aren't very many players who are going to outsmart him." – Jiri Fischer on Iginla. The Red Wings sure aren't talking a lot about how they're going to score on Kiprusoff!