Stanley Cup Game Day: Calgary at Tampa Bay - GAME #1
Calgarypuck Playoff Coverage 2004
Marc Ciampa May 25th, 2004
Well, here we are at the 20th playoff game of the season as the Calgary Flames are gearing up to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 111th Stanley Cup Final on the 15th anniversary of the last time the Flames won it all, May 25th.
Tonight, (CBC/ESPN, 6:00 p.m. MT) there's no need to adjust your television set. Indeed that is the Calgary Flames against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the battle for hockey supremacy. Two seasons ago both these teams were on the outside looking in and in fact both endured lengthy droughts without any postseason action at all—the Lightning missing six straight years and the Flames missing seven in a row.
But they're both here now and both teams have a very real chance of claiming hockey's top prize. It all starts tonight.
FLAMES KEYS TO SUCCESS:
If the Flames forwards can continually get the puck into the corners and not only chase after it but hit hard when doing so, it could be a long night for the Lightning defencemen.
With no direct head-to-head match-up, Iginla may find a lot more open space tonight than he's seen throughout the playoffs. Also, as long as Kiprusoff gives the team a chance to win, they'll take hold of that opportunity enough times to take the series.
Penalty Kill/Stay out of the box!
Calgary is a five-on-five team, Tampa Bay is a power play team. The Flames need to do everything they can to ensure they're not taking too many penalties. When they do take them, their penalty killers are going to have to be very good.
Calgary:Craig Conroy was Calgary's leading scoring in the San Jose series, with six points (three goals, three assists) in six games… Jarome Iginla was also very good, with four goals and one assists in six games… Marcus Nilson and Shean Donovan each had four points against the Sharks.
Tampa Bay:Brad Richards was outstanding last round, with eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games… Ruslan Fedotenko had six goals in seven games but was a minus-four overall. He had only three goals the two previous rounds combined. Cory Stillman had his best round by far with four of his six total points. Vincent Lecavalier was a minus-four last round but scored four goals and had six points.
Calgary:Chris Clark had no points against the Sharks and was a team-worst minus-four… Chris Simon had only one goal in the entire series and 45 penalty minutes… Oleg Saprykin had only one assist last round.
Tampa Bay:Martin St. Louis was a minus-three last round and has only one goal through his last 11 games, although he does have 12 assists in that time frame… Cory Sarich was a -4 in the Flyers series and had no points. Tim Taylor was minus-three with one point. Pavel Kubina was minus-three with a pair of assists. Darryl Sydor was minus-four although he had four assists in seven games.
Calgary: Dean McAmmond (back), Denis Gauthier (leg) and Steve Reinprecht (shoulder) are all out for the rest of the season. Matthew Lombardi (concussion) and Toni Lydman (concussion) are out but could return this series.
Tampa Bay: No injuries.
The Flames are guaranteed to play the most playoff games in franchise history this season with a minimum of 24 should either team sweep this round. The previous high was 22 set in 1986 and matched in 1989… Tampa Bay finished 12 points ahead of Calgary this season and ironically throughout the history of the NHL the team that led by 12 points has a 7-9 record (.438) in best-of-seven series… The Lightning have won game one in each of their three previous series in these playoffs after never previously winning a game one in their franchise history… Calgary is 8-15 all-time in game ones with wins in rounds two and three of these playoffs… This will be the first Stanley Cup Finals in which the Flames do not have the home ice advantage… Chris Clark and Steve Montador are the only current Flames who participated in the 2001 Calder Cup Championship run by the Saint John Flames. Clark had four goals and 14 assists in 18 games while Montador had no goals and eight assists in 19 games… Nikolai Khabibulin's stats last round: 2.53 goals-against average and .905 save percentage… Miikka Kiprusoff's stats last round: 1.85 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.
Darryl Sutter leads all Sutters in playoff games coached with his 88th taking place tonight (41-46 record)… Martin Gelinas joined Ken Linesman of the 1984 Edmonton Oilers as the only players to score the game-winning goal in three series-clinching games in one playoff year… Contrary to popular belief, the New Jersey Devils also defeated three division winners in the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs, defeating Toronto, Philadelphia and Dallas although the Flames were the first team to do it within a conference… Calgary has become the first NHL team to reach the Finals after a playoff drought of seven seasons or more. The closest previously was Colorado/New Jersey who reached the Conference Finals in 1987-88 after nine straight years on the sidelines… Tampa Bay has had the lead in these playoffs for 487 minutes and 52 seconds which is 49.6% of its total time played. Calgary meanwhile has played with the lead for 396:54 (32.4%)… Calgary has trailed for 21.1% while Tampa Bay has trailed for 21.3% of its total time.
"It's pretty awesome. You just feel the buzz in the city and everywhere you go. … Not only we're representing Calgary, but Canada, and it's an opportunity that doesn't come very, very often."
– Flames LW Martin Gelinas after Calgary eliminated San Jose.
"I think we have talked about this a lot in our locker room, and I am living proof of how hard it is to get here. And how special it is and how we have to all have fun and enjoy it because it doesn't come around very often. Let's realize the situation we're in."
- Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk, appearing in his first Stanley Cup Finals in his 22-year career.
"I was a little bit bitter about some things and I think I took the wrong stance, but I said if we could ever get a chance to maybe clean the slate and for me to play on the World Cup team, you know, now that I have played on one, I'd love to play World Championships. I declined a couple World Championships because I was upset about the Olympics and that was, you know, maybe wrong on my part, but they were bigger than me and they stepped forward and gave me an opportunity, so now I will repay them any chance I can get."
- Flames forward Craig Conroy on being selected for the U.S. World Cup team.