Calgary at Tampa BayCalgarypuck Playoff Coverage 2004
June 7th, 2004
The odds are definitely stacked against the Flames heading into tonight's game
(CBC/ABC, 6:00 p.m. MT).
No team ranked as low as 12th overall has ever gone on to win the Stanley Cup. The only time a team has ever come back to win in the Finals after losing Game 6 at home was the 1945 Toronto Maple Leafs. The road team has only won twice in 12 attempts in this situation. And then there's the whole losing record at home and 11 road victories that'll be needed if they're to raise the Cup tonight.
Not to mention, key components Robyn Regehr, Shean Donovan and Toni Lydman are all questionable to suit up tonight and if they do they likely won't be near 100%. Never mind all the other regulars who have been out for months.
So does this mean the Flames have the Lightning exactly where they want them?
Just when you think you have this team figured out, they take a left turn. To be as close as one goal away from certain victory, it would be disappointing at this point to not see them win it all. However, you have to take your hat off to this team as they have made it further than anyone thought possible. A playoff berth would have sufficed but now that they've made it this far it would be sad to not see them go all the way. But win or lose, enjoy it for what it is—the Calgary Flames in the Stanley Cup Finals. As any Leafs fan will tell you, it might be many many years before we get this chance again.
Just in case your heart can't take any more of this, note the following warning: The last FIVE times the Flames have gone to a Game 7 the game has gone into overtime, dating back to April 15, 1989 when the Flames defeated the Vancouver Canucks in the Saddledome with no Stanley Cup banners hanging overhead.
FLAMES KEYS TO SUCCESS:
- Iginla and big games: This is it. This is the "Gold Medal" game. Except, to the city of Calgary it's even bigger than that. Jarome has stepped up before when it was winner take all and he will step up again tonight. He has to.
- Kiprusoff: Seems simple enough, but he is one of the main reasons the Flames have made it this far. If he makes the saves he has made all season long tonight, he will be hoisting the Cup after the game.
- Flames hockey: You could also categorize this as "everything else". The team needs to forecheck hard, drive traffic from the front of the net, penalty kill well and limit odd-man rushes. Sounds easy enough but the Flames may find that tonight's game is even harder to win than Saturday's.
The probability ball is in Tampa's court now. In NHL history in game sevens, the home team has a 10-2 record (.833) including each of the last four wins. That's what you play for all season long, folks.
Historically, the Flames have played nine game sevens over their 32-year history, all since 1981 while the team was located in Calgary. Their record over that span is five wins, four losses. Of those nine games, they have played four on the road with a 3-1 record:
April 19, 2004: Calgary Flames 3 at Vancouver Canucks 2 (OT) – Flames fans will remember this one for a long time. After losing a heartbreaker in Game 6 triple overtime after mounting a four-goal comeback, the Flames seemed destined to continue their streak of 15-straight seasons without a playoff series win—especially after Matt Cooke scored with five seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime. But it was Martin Gelinas less than two minutes into the extra frame who emerged as the hero and sent the Flames on the incredible run they are now enjoying.
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 6 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 6, 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 prevailed – 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), Denis Gauthier (leg) and Steve Reinprecht (shoulder) are all out for the rest of the season. Matthew Lombardi (concussion) is out. Shean Donovan (leg) is questionable. Robyn Regehr (foot) is questionable. Toni Lydman is also questionable as he missed most of the second period but did return for the third and OT.
Tampa Bay: Like the majority of the season, the Lightning has nobody out of their lineup due to injury.
GAME SEVEN HISTORY…
Tonight's game will mark the 13th time in the 111-year history of the Stanley Cup that there will be a seventh and deciding game. Here is a summary of all the previous seventh games:
April 18, 1942: Detroit Red Wings 1 at Toronto Maple Leafs 3 – The first-ever Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 was certainly a memorable one. After Detroit mounted a 3-0 series lead, Toronto stormed back with four straight wins including this one in Game 7.
April 22, 1945: Toronto Maple Leafs 2 at Detroit Red Wings 1 – In a rematch of the 1943 Finals, Flames fans need to take note of this one. It is the only time in Stanley Cup Finals history that a team has lost Game 6 at home and come back to win Game 7 on the road. Detroit defeated Toronto 1-0 14:16 into overtime in Game 6 to force the deciding match but it was the Leafs who prevailed in the seventh game just one day later.
April 23, 1950: NY Rangers 3 at Detroit Red Wings 4 (OT) – This was the first time that the Stanley Cup Finals have ever gone to an overtime in the seventh game. The final four games of this series were played in Detroit and with the Rangers down two games to one heading into Game 4, New York's backs were against the wall. The Rangers won games four and five in overtime but Detroit bounced back to take Game 6 by a score of 5-4. In game seven, the Red Wings' Pete Babando scored 8:31 into the second overtime for the win.
April 16, 1954: Montreal Canadiens 1 at Detroit Red Wings 2 (OT) – The Red Wings let a 3-1 series lead slip away in this one but recovered for the Game 7 victory. In Game 5, Montreal won 1-0 5:45 into overtime at Detroit and the Habs won Game 6 back in Montreal convincingly by a score of 4-1. 4:29 into the first overtime period, Tony Leswick scored to crown the Red Wings champions yet again.
April 14, 1955: Montreal Canadiens 1 at Detroit Red Wings 3 – For the fifth time, a seventh game in the Stanley Cup finals involved the Detroit Red Wings. In a series where each game was one by the home team, the Wings were glad to have home ice advantage in Game 7. No game in this series was decided by less than two goals.
April 25, 1964: Detroit Red Wings 0 at Toronto Maple Leafs 4 – After a nine-year hiatus, the Detroit Red Wings found themselves back in the Stanley Cup Finals in a Game 7 situation. The result of this one should worry Flames fans as this series had a similar pattern to the 2004 Final. The two teams split the first two games in Toronto and then split a pair in Detroit. The Red Wings won a close Game 5 by a score of 2-1 and had an opportunity to put the series away on home ice but Bobby Baun scored his now-legendary goal 1:43 into overtime to send it to a seventh game back in Toronto.
May 1, 1965: Chicago Blackhawks 0 at Montreal Canadiens 4 – For the second time in the Stanley Cup Finals, the home team won every game in a best-of-seven series en route to the Stanley Cup. The series featured three shutouts by Gump Worsley, with the third being the most important.
May 18, 1971: Montreal Canadiens 3 at Chicago Blackhawks 2 – With a goaltender by the name of Ken Dryden seemingly coming out of nowhere to lead the Canadiens to this improbable victory, this was the last time a road team won the Stanley Cup in a Game 7. Chicago took the first two games of this series but the Habs bounced back to win Game 3 and 4. Chicago won Game 5 by a score of 2-0 and had an opportunity to wrap it up in Game 6 in Montreal, where the Canadiens prevailed 4-3.
May 31, 1987: Philadelphia Flyers 1 at Edmonton Oilers 3 – The closest the Edmonton Oilers have ever come to playing hockey in June, they were back on their heels after losing Game 5 at home and Game 6 in Philadelphia. However, they managed to bounce back and play a near-perfect game to dispose of the Flyers in Game 7.
June 14, 1994: Vancouver Canucks 2 at NY Rangers 3 – After splitting the first two games in New York, the Canucks fell apart at home losing both and falling behind three games to one in the series. However, like they had done against the Flames several rounds earlier, the Canucks found something within themselves to force a Game 7. They won Game 5 in New York 6-3 and took Game 6 by a score of 4-1. In the seventh game they were a Nathan Lafayette cross-bar away from the Cup but it was the Rangers who prevailed, winning their first Cup in 54 years.
June 9, 2001: New Jersey Devils 1 at Colorado Avalanche 3 – The source of inspiration for the Tampa Bay Lightning this year, the Avalanche were down three games to two in their series but managed to turn it all around with a 4-0 win in Game 6 at New Jersey and a 3-1 victory at home to clinch their second Cup.
June 7, 2003: Anaheim Mighty Ducks 0 at New Jersey Devils 3 – Thanks to this series, for the third time in 111 years tonight's game marks a back-to-back Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals. The last time this occurred was 1964-65. After winning the first two games handily at home, Anaheim squeaked out overtime wins on their home ice for games three and four. The Devils bounced back with a 6-3 win in Game 5 but the Mighty Ducks returned the favour with a 5-2 win in Game 6. However, New Jersey learned the error of its ways two seasons ago and did not relinquish its opportunity to win in Game 7 this time around.
"You know what, the game tomorrow if you look at the last two games are both 3-2 overtime games. If we had lost Game 5 in overtime we lost Game 6 in overtime, we're not here today, right, or if we would'a won Game 6 and lost Game 5 there's Game 7. If we won Game 5 and lost Game 6 there's Game 7. So there's Game 7."
– Flames head coach & GM Darryl Sutter when asked if he had a message to his team for tonight's game.
"I didn't play very well in Game 6. It's tough because a lot of our forwards were really flying. They were going and it was a game that it was an overtime again it's one shot, and everybody wants to get that one goal that's going to help the team win, and myself included. And as far as feeling a toll or anything, the whole playoffs are it's physically and emotionally demanding, but when game time comes it's very exciting. No, I don't think that was it. I think you know, in the preparation before the game and all day, I was very nervous, very excited. I probably thought about it a little too much. Didn't have my same preparation and unfortunately I wasn't very good. The exciting part is there is another opportunity for our team and myself to try to be better and play in a Game 7 and win this thing."
-- Flames captain Jarome Iginla.
"We all know this is going to be our last game of the year, period. There's going to be nothing left on the table as far as being tired or anything like that. Not a chance. This is what we dream of. This is going to be very intense. I imagine the nerves are going to be going a little bit for everybody. It's about managing those and enjoying it, and playing our best."
-- Iginla again, on the significance of a Game 7.
Best-of-seven series tied 3-3
May 25: Calgary 4 at Tampa Bay 1
Calgary: Gelinas, Iginla, Yelle, Simon (Kiprusoff 24 shots, 23 saves)
Tampa Bay: St. Louis (Khabibulin 19 shots, 15 saves)
May 27: Calgary 1 at Tampa Bay 4
Calgary: Nieminen (Kiprusoff 31 shots, 27 saves)
Tampa Bay: Fedotenko, Richards, Boyle, St. Louis (Khabibulin 19 shots, 18 saves)
May 29: Tampa Bay 0 at Calgary 3
Tampa Bay: None (Khabibulin 18 shots, 15 saves)
Calgary: Simon, Donovan, Iginla (Kiprusoff 21 shots, 21 saves)
May 31: Tampa Bay 1 at Calgary 0
Tampa Bay: Richards (Khabibulin 29 shots, 29 saves)
Calgary: None (Kiprusoff 19 shots, 18 saves)
June 3: Calgary 3 at Tampa Bay 2 (OT)
Tampa Bay: St. Louis, Modin (Khabibulin 36 shots, 33 saves)
Calgary: Gelinas, Iginla, Saprykin (Kiprusoff 28 shots, 26 saves)
June 5: Tampa Bay 3 at Calgary 2 (OT)
Tampa Bay: Richards (2), St. Louis (Khabibulin 33 shots, 31 saves)
Calgary: Clark, Nilson (Kiprusoff 27 shots, 24 saves)
Tampa Bay won the season series 1-0-0-0
January 24: Tampa Bay 6 at Calgary 2
Calgary: McAmmond, Gelinas (Turek 29 shots, 23 saves)
Tampa Bay: St. Louis (3), Fedotenko, Richards, Taylor (Grahame 20 shots, 18 saves)
STANLEY CUP HISTORY:
1989 Stanley Cup Finals (Flames win series 4-2)
May 14 Montreal Canadiens 2 at Calgary Flames 3
May 17 Montreal Canadiens 4 at Calgary Flames 2
May 19 Calgary Flames 3 at Montreal Canadiens 4
(Ryan Walter scored at 18:08 of the second overtime)
May 21 Calgary Flames 4 at Montreal Canadiens 2
May 23 Montreal Canadiens 2 at Calgary Flames 3
May 25 Calgary Flames 4 at Montreal Canadiens 2
1986 Stanley Cup Finals (Canadiens win series 4-1)
May 16 Montreal Canadiens 2 at Calgary Flames 5
May 18 Montreal Canadiens 3 at Calgary Flames 2
(Brian Skrudland scored at 0:09 of the first overtime)
May 20 Calgary Flames 3 at Montreal Canadiens 5
May 22 Calgary Flames 0 at Montreal Canadiens 1
May 24 Montreal Canadiens 4 at Calgary Flames 3