The Nightmare Is Over 

Win Over Coyotes Gives Flames Playoff Birth

March 31st, 2004

Tomorrow just might be April Fool's day, but one can feel confident, it's no joke, the Flames are in the playoffs.

Peter Maher, Fan 960's long time patriarch shrieked the infamous "Yeah Baby" on the radio tonight, a scream that reflects back on a better Flame time when making the playoffs was given, and thought of the Cup danced gingerly in one's mind.

Mr. Maher may have bounced around from 810 t0 660 to 960 on your dial, but never has his proclamation of Flame satisfaction meant more then in beating the Phoenix Coyotes and clinching the club's first playoff birth since 1996.

Quite simply the Flames are in.

A brief and simple statement that seemed almost fairly tail like just months ago but are very much reality with the results of tonight's game.

If the playoffs were to start tonight the Canadian Broadcasting Company would have their western dream match up with the Calgary Flames facing off against the Vancouver Canucks.

Think Jim Peplinski banking a puck of Joel Otto's skate to win the 1989 first round series or Pavel Bure going east, west, east and a little west again to freeze Mike Vernon and take the 1994 first round matchup, a series that saw the Canucks win three straight overtime games to win the contest.

Any matchup is possible at this points with a few games left to play, but make no mistake about it ... the Flames are in.

The Flames played a solid home game at the Saddledome tonight, carrying the play for the most part despite the tooth and nail low scoring final.

"It has been a long time, let's be honest," said Jarome Iginla, "it feels awesome, we've worked very hard this season."

"This is our first goal -- now we prepare for the playoffs."

Mr. Iginla opened the scoring in the first period when he got a piece of a Robyn Regehr centering attempt on a first period powerplay.

From there the home side had the best of the chances but came up empty against the stellar goaltending of Brent Johnson.

The Coyotes pressed in the third but were unable to beat Miikka Kiprusoff, who came up with at least three or four game saving stops.

The Saddledome crowd was boisterously appreciative of the Flames ability to jump back into the playoffs, driving home their affection in standing ovation after standing ovation in the last few minutes.

The city was starved for success, and with momentum at a high not seen since the mid 80's in Calgary, it will be fun to see a whole new generation catch the fever that many of us grew up with.

Have at her!





1) Miikka Kiprusoff - He had only to face about three or four blue chip chances on the night but he stopped every one to earn the shut out.

2) Jarome Iginla - Scored the games' only goal, his 40th on the season to tie the Rocket Richard race.

3) Brent Johnson - The difference between a blow out loss and a close finish.

With the game still deadlocked at zero, the puck slid into the slot to Shane Doan who had Calgary keeper Miikka Kiprusoff dead to rights. But it was the Calgary stopper who out waited the Coyote sniper to keep it even.

Within a few minutes in the first period, former Hitmen Fred Sjostrom was absoloutley drilled by Kzyz Oliwa and then Mike Commodore.

Wow ... playoff matchups, and who plays who? It's been a long time for Calgary, the Flames and, a site that first hit the cyber waves in 2000, and has gone four years covering the team without a playoff game. Thanks for sticking with us, we look forward to ratcheting things up a notch and taking things to a new level. ... Former Flame Derek Morris was very much appreciate of his fomer mate's efforts, "I think it's great," he said. "I was over there with a lot of those guys when we went through the bad times, but finally now they have an opportunity. The rebuilding took a little bit longer than people thought but they've got the right people in there right now for a good team and a good playoff run." ... Coach Sutter was also ready to hand out a little praise, "Some of them have never been in this position, so good for them," he said. "Let them savor this". ...  The Flames won 57% of the draws on the evening, with Craig Conroy leading the way at 68%. ... Robyn Regehr had the strong edge in ice time, doing the twirls for almost 27 minutes.


  Back to
Read other Stories
Talk About it!