Stanley Cup Game Day: Tampa Bay at Calgary - GAME #3
Calgarypuck Playoff Coverage 2004

Marc Ciampa
May 31st, 2004

It's the one hump that the Flames haven't been able to get over.

In a postseason where very few patterns have emerged, one thing that has propelled the Flames to their franchise record 23rd playoff game (and beyond) has been their ability to learn from opportunities lost in the previous series.

In the first round, the Flames lost Game 1 in a case of playoff jitters but in all subsequent rounds they were able to overcome that and take a 1-0 lead in the series. In the first round, the team's first game at home was a defeat as Vancouver went up 2-1 but in the second round and in the Stanley Cup Finals Calgary was able to break the 1-1 series tie to move ahead by a game. In round one, Calgary couldn't close out the series in six games at home versus Vancouver but they made no mistake against Detroit and San Jose in that same situation.

However, in both the San Jose and Detroit series the Flames had the ability in Game 4 on home ice to take a three-games-to-one stranglehold with a win but both times they came up short. In fact, their effort in Game 4 against the Sharks was one of the team's poorest of the playoffs.

Now tonight (CBC/ABC, 6:00 p.m. MT) Calgary has yet another chance to take that elusive 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals but it will have to be against a Tampa Bay team that has not lost two in a row throughout the entire playoffs. Expect the Lightning to be charged up for this one.


  • Physical play and patience: Calgary won Saturday night because they set the game's tone physically and were able to grind the Lightning down. One side-effect of their physical play was a lack of scoring chances early on but the team didn't panic and it resulted in a very strong second period.
  • Weather the storm: Tampa Bay knows what's at stake tonight and they will be much better overall than they were Saturday. This means the Flames need to be ready early on in this one.
  • Conroy: Craig Conroy has had a couple of tough games but should bounce back with a big game tonight.


Teams that win Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final with the series tied 1-1 have won the Cup in 21 of 24 seasons that this situation has occurred. The three exceptions were the 1991 Minnesota North Stars, who dropped three straight to the Pittsburgh Penguins after taking a 2-1 lead, the 1989 Montreal Canadiens who were defeated by the Flames in three straight following their 2-1 series advantage and the 1964 Detroit Red Wings who lost to Toronto in seven…. When a team wins Game 1, loses Game 2 and wins Game 3 their all-time record in the Cup Finals is 11-1.

The team holding a 2-1 series lead and playing Game 4 at home has a 7-5 record in that game.


A number of trends from this year's Stanley Cup Finals seem to be leading back to the other two times the Flames made an appearance in the fourth round of the playoffs.

The team splitting the first two games on home ice as Tampa Bay did, have ended up winning the series each of the last eight times this has occurred. The start of the streak was in 1989 when the Flames split with Montreal at home and ended up taking the series in six games. The last team to split the first two games at home and lose the series? The 1986 Calgary Flames.

Game 2 had more total penalty minutes in a single Stanley Cup Finals playoff game since the infamous bench-clearing brawl in Game 4 of the 1986 Finals between Calgary and Montreal. This series also has the most fighting majors (six) than any other Finals series since the Flames and Habs racked up eight in '86.


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: Ruslan Fedotenko (facial injuries) is probable.


Tonight's game marks Calgary's 23rd of this postseason, which sets a franchise record for most games in one playoff year. The previous record was 22, set in 1986 and 1989. When the Flames reached 22 games in 1986 it was an NHL record at the time, although the first round still comprised of best-of-five series at the time… Tampa Bay hasn't lost two games in a row since March 20 and 21 against Boston and NY Islanders… Never mind the whole four goals thing, following any sort of loss in these playoffs, Kiprusoff now has a record of 7-1 along with a 1.17 goals-against average, a .953 save percentage and four shutouts… Kiprusoff is the fourth goaltender in NHL history to have as many as five shutouts in one playoff year. J-S Giguere also had five shutouts last season while Dominik Hasek had six in 2002 and Martin Brodeur had seven last year… The Flames are 10-0 in these playoffs when leading after two periods. They are 12-1 when scoring first… The multiple power play goal effort Saturday was Calgary's first of the playoffs since Game 7 in Vancouver. Meanwhile, the Lightning had their eight-game power-play goal streak snapped… Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis had five-game point streaks snapped on Saturday as well. Richards had eight points (3g, 5a) and St. Louis had seven points (2g, 5a) during the stretch… The Flames have not yet cracked the 20-shot barrier in this series with 19 shots in each of the first two games and 18 on Saturday.


"If they had won the game last night, then probably the opposite is being talked about this morning, you know, were you too physical? They have a style that they play and they can match that type of game. I said it yesterday morning, they can play that way. It's basically a one-goal game. It's no different than Game 2; it's 1-nothing and so I'd say it's pretty well matched. I think that, you know, when you talk about their skill, well, obviously they have more skill than we do. We have some real skilled players that can't play. They are out -- we're not going to have them in the playoffs. So we have to -- we have had to make adjustments and hopefully they work for us."
- Flames head coach and GM Darryl Sutter on the physical turn this series took in Game 3.

"I want the perfect game"
- Sutter, when asked where Game 3 rates among the playoff games the Flames have played so far this season.

"You don't make the playoffs by accident. You don't realize how hard it is to make the playoffs. I mean, you look at a team like Edmonton, what they did in the last two months and they didn't make the playoffs. That tells you how hard it is for over a period of time to get in. When you look the 16 playoff teams, there's probably an average of somewhere between 41 and 43 wins. You think about that over 82 games, you've lost a lot of games, haven't you? You know, you basically won one, lost one, then maybe won two somewhere. So does that surprise you or surprise me or did I expect that coming in the playoffs? Well, you have scratched and clawed all year, so once you get there, you just try and do it again."
- Sutter again, on the difficulty of even making the playoffs.


Calgary leads best-of-seven series 2-1

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 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 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)

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)


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

  Back to
Read other Stories
Talk About it!