Flames Torch the Wings 

Gelinas Ousts 2nd Straight Opponent 

May 3rd, 2004

Maybe it's time we start to take these guys seriously.


The Calgary Flames put a stake through the last of their era long "curses" in finally ending a playoff series at home, defeating the Detroit Red Wings for the second straight game by identical 1-0 scores, this time in overtime, the hero, Martin Gelinas, of course.

Ironically, the last time the Flames eliminated a team on Saddledome ice was May, 1989 when they beat the Chicago Blackhawks in game five to win the Campbell Conference Trophy. Tonight the Flames advance to the final four and a chance to snag that trophy yet again.

If only club management could have worked this into a bumper sticker - "we'll be out a while, but when we come back, we'll come back".

This spring the Calgary Flames simple refuse to follow the script.

Climb out of a futile period in club history by staging a gutsy yet unsuccessful attempt in the playoffs, an experience that acts as a building block for future seasons.

Instead the Flames have ousted the Northwest and Central Division champions in a total of 13 games and now await the winner of a the San Jose / Colorado series.


Just a few days ago the Flames were coming off a disheartening game four loss at the Saddledome to these very same Wings while the Sharks were seemingly cruising by the Avalanche and licking their chops at an anything but rested conference final opponent.

Not so fast.

Instead of the repossession of Cinderella's glass slipper, it appears the Flames have made arrangements for an elaborate lay away plan that has them maintaining said footwear for at least another couple of weeks. Hell they may buy the damn thing.

The game itself was a classic - the Wings doing their best to hang in and force a game seven at home in Hockey Town in front of an awaiting captain Steve Yzerman, the Flames looking to put the stiletto through their temple and call the thing a series.

The Flames had the better of the chances through 60 minutes of gut wrenching hockey though both teams could have won the game a dozen times over with the chances seen both ways.

There was Jarome Iginla shoving off a defender and almost ending it with six minutes and change left on the clock. Or, how about Miikka Kiprusoff, author of back to back shut outs to win the series having a simple shot bounce off him and skitter just wide of the net with just four minutes left to play.

The game ended when Jarome Iginla brought the puck out of the corner and fired it towards Detroit goaltender Curtis Joseph. Craig Conroy picked up the rebound and put it on net but it hit a skate and deflected to the far post and the awaiting stick of team killer Martin Gelinas. Gelinas had a wide open net and made no mistake in sending the President's Trophy winners into a massive rebuilding and retirement process that is sure to see a different team in Michigan when the sun rises on a new labour agreement.

As much as savouring this one is a true delicacy, one can't help but look forward to tomorrow night as the Avalanche host the Sharks in Denver.

Here's hoping the old Rockies come up with a big one and force game seven.

Cinderella looks good at the ball, but man could she use a breather.





1) Miikka Kiprusoff - The Flames had the lion's share of chances on this one, but without the steady goaltending of Miikka Kiprusoff and his second straight shut out they wouldn't have been around for Martin Gelinas' winner. 

2) Martin Gelinas - OT winner to eliminate Vancouver, OT assist in game one of this series, and an OT goal to knock out the Wings. The series MVP. 

3) Curtis Joseph - The aftermath of this series will focus on Kiprusoff and his goaltending, but Curtis Joseph kept these games close or the heroics would never have been needed.

A long shot in on Curtis Joseph shouldn't create the save of the game, but in the first period Craig Conroy picked up a rebound on a greasy center ice rebound and almost beat the Wing goaltender high.

Not very often you see Darren McCarty on his knees, but Ville Nieminen drilled the Wing winger from behind and stunned the Detroit mucker. If you want to talk impact, Darrian Hatcher's elbow to Matthew Lombardi's face was a doozy as well.

If this sucker went seven games, Hatcher's elbow on Lombardi would surely have been reviewed - a truly gutless play by the big ox. ... Jarome Iginla had one assist in this game but was very strong through the slot throughout the game. He almost opened the scoring in the second when he hit the goal post. ... Flames win a series ... in overtime ... at home ... maybe that Forum curse is finally dead. ... Hard to believe that September training camp was laced with "Martin Gelinas could be placed on waivers" talk before the season began. The grizzled vet just knows where to go for the big play, a truly gifted moment player. ... I guess we can assume Chris Simon will play in the next series making another tough left wing roster decision for coach Sutter. ... If one of the two lasting series goes seven games, there's a good chance that the Flames won't play again until Saturday or Sunday. A good rest. ... The Flames actually won the battle of the face off circle tonight, taking 52% of the draws. Yelle, Conroy and Nilson were all above the break even point. ... The Flames blueline dynamic due of Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold each paced the Flames with just over 30 minutes. The older Wings defence one upped them however as Mathieu Schneider and Nik Lidstrom each had over 37 minutes. ... Neither team scored a powerplay goal once gain. The Flames finished the series with just one powerplay tally, the Wings with three - all in game two.

Gelinas Conroy Iginla 
Nieminen Nilson Donovan 
Saprykin Yelle Clark 
Lowry Lombardi Kobasew

Regehr Montador 
Ference Commodore 
Warrener Leopold

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