The Flames, with the series tied 2-2 pull off an improbable victory in hostile territory by a single goal and have the opportunity to win a series on home ice for the first time since May of 1989. In what could be termed a carbon copy of round one against Vancouver, Calgary has a very real chance of pulling off a series victory against their heavily-favoured opponents tonight (CBC/ESPN2, 8:00 p.m.).
Defying all odds in game five, the Flames scratched and clawed their way to a 1-0 win. If they can get the early jump with the crowd behind them, they just might find themselves among the final four participants in these Stanley Cup playoffs.
FLAMES KEYS TO SUCCESS:
This line has been Calgary's best by far throughout the second round. Their ability to generate chances off the rush usually catches the slower Red Wings defencemen flat footed. Nieminen has also gotten under Detroit's skin lately and could throw them off their game plan if he picks up where he left off.
He hasn't dominated this series like he did in the latter half of round one against the Canucks but the Flames are going to need him to step up and dominate like he did in game seven if they hope to advance on home ice.
Miikka stole game five and needs to be just as good tonight.
POTENTIAL SERIES CLINCHING GAMES AT THE 'DOME...
The Flames have had the opportunity to wrap up a series 11 times on home ice in franchise history. During that time, they have only accomplished the feat four times for a record of 4-7. The last five times this situation has come up, the game has entered overtime and the last three times this situation has come up, the game has entered multiple overtimes with the Flames losing each and every time. Calgary did win four consecutive series-clinching games on home ice from May 14, 1986 through May 10, 1989 in games against St. Louis, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Chicago.
April 17, 2004: Vancouver 5 at Calgary 4 (3OT) The Flames rallied back from a 4-0 deficit to tie the Canucks 4-4 as they had a 3-2 series lead on home ice with the chance to wrap up the series. However, it was Brendan Morrison who ended the game in triple overtime. Calgary ended up winning the series in seven games, however.
May 19, 1995: San Jose 5 at Calgary 4 (2OT) Current Detroit Red Wing Ray Whitney scored 1:56 into double overtime to eliminate the Flames in the seventh and deciding game.
April 30, 1994:Vancouver 4 at Calgary 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 26, 1994:Vancouver 2 at Calgary 1 (OT) With the Flames up 3-1 in their opening round series against the Canucks, they had an opportunity to put them away in five games but Geoff Courtnall and the Canucks had other ideas seven minutes into the OT period as Courtnall's blast from the faceoff circle went over Vernon's shoulder. The Canucks would go on to win the series in seven.
April 16, 1991: Edmonton 5 at Calgary 4 (OT) 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.
May 10, 1989: Chicago 1 at Calgary 3 After Al MacInnis put the Flames up 3-1 in the series with an overtime blast from the point in game four at noisy Chicago Stadium, the Flames wrapped up the series with a convincing 3-1 win in game five at the Saddledome. It was the last time the Flames have won a series on home ice.
April 15, 1989: Vancouver 3 at Calgary 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.
April 12, 1988: Los Angeles 4 at Calgary 6 In what was widely regarded as simply a first-round tune-up before yet another Battle of Alberta clash, the Flames disposed of the Los Angeles Kings 6-4 in what was a hugely one-sided series. Calgary won the series four games to one.
May 14, 1986: St. Louis 1 at Calgary 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 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time ever.
April 28, 1986: Edmonton 5 at Calgary 2 This was a game that nobody expected the Flames to win. After shocking the Oilers two nights earlier in Edmonton by a score of 4-1, the Flames were in a position to wrap up the series in front of their home crowd at the Saddledome with a three games to two lead. However, it was Edmonton that responded with a huge effort to force a seventh and deciding game one which the Flames won in Edmonton, of course.
April 24, 1981: Philadelphia 3 at Calgary 2 After taking a 3-1 series lead, the Flames were blown out in Philadelphia 9-2 sending the series back to the Corral where Calgary had an opportunity to wrap up a series at home for the first time in franchise history. However, it was the Flyers who eked out a 3-2 victory to send it back to Philadelphia for game seven. The Flames eventually prevailed in seven to advance to the Conference Finals.
Calgary: Dean McAmmond (back) and Steve Reinprecht (shoulder) are both out for the rest of the season. Denis Gauthier (leg) is out. Toni Lydman (upper body) and Chris Simon (leg) are very close to returning. Dave Lowry (abdomen) made an inspirational return to the lineup last game and is likely available to draw in tonight if the team needs him.
Detroit: Steve Yzerman (eye), Niklas Kronwall (leg) and Mark Mowers (foot) are out for this series. Chris Chelios (shoulder) is questionable.
The last time the Red Wings entered hostile territory down 3-2 in a series was May 29, 2002. They defeated the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 and 7-0 in games six and seven respectively and went on to win the Stanley Cup Curtis Joseph has had some problems in one-goal games in recent history. Dating back to the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals with Toronto against Martin Gelinas and the Carolina Hurricanes, Joseph has lost 10 of the last 11 one-goal games he has been involved in. He is 0-7 as a Red Wing in one-goal games The last team to open a best-of-seven Conference Semi-Final series with victories in games one and three and losses in games two and four and win the series was the Calgary Flames against the Edmonton Oilers in 1986. Such a situation has come up eight times since with the team winning games two and four coming out on top each time When leading a series 3-2 the Flames have a 6-2 overall series record, although in game six they are only 1-7 When trailing a series 3-2, the Detroit Red Wings have a 7-12 overall series record and a 10-9 game six record The team with a 3-2 series lead has a 151-114 (.570) record in game six historically and a 209-56 (.789) series record.
"Oh, I was a little nervous getting started. It's been a week, a long week, and I haven't done much. So it's tough. But it helps the way the guys played around me. And all in all, actually it went a little better than I thought it would." Flames defenceman Rhett Warrener on his return to the lineup after missing two games with an eye injury.
"Solid, just solid. You know, I was drafted by Florida and he's always been a role model for me. For all the guys, really. He's been hurt, but just having him around the room has been good for all of us. And what can you say about tonight? Heart, grit, smarts, fire, character. What Dave Lowry's all about.'' Marcus Nilson on Dave Lowry's performance in game five.
"It was tough to see Stevie like that, after all he's done for this hockey club. You see him laying there and it gives you a sick-to-your-stomach feeling. Maybe we can use this as a rallying cry. These are the games when Stevie steps up and plays the ultimate. Everyone's going to have to do it now. We had to win Game 6 anyways, now it's a do-or-die situation" Wings forward Kris Draper.