For better or for worse, the Calgary Flames faceoff against the Dallas Stars tonight in Game 7 of their first round series. No one predicted that it would get this far, and in fact it really shouldn’t have for the Calgary Flames.
No disrespect to the Stars—who behind Jake Oettinger have been fantastic and have made this a close entertaining series—but the Flames were the favourites.
All of that negativity, hesitation, and disappointment can be dispelled tonight if the Flames take home the victory and advance.
The Flames have had a mixed history in terms of Game 7, with some highlights and some low points, so let’s take a trip down memory lane before another chapter is written this evening.
1980–81 Quarter Finals
In the Calgary Flames’ first NHL Game 7, they came out victorious over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flames actually led that series 3–1 before losing Game 5 and 6. In Game 7, they were able to score three power play goals on the road in Philadelphia to take the game and move on to the Semifinals
1983–84 Division Finals
Stacking up against the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Edmonton Oilers, the Flames were able to take the number one ranked Oilers to seven games. In a flip of their first seven game series, the Flames were in fact down to the Oilers 3–1 and were able to force Game 7 off a Lanny McDonald overtime winner. This wasn’t enough unfortunately, as the Oilers dominated the Flames in Game 7 with a score of 7–4.
1985–86 Division Finals
In a rematch of the 1984 playoffs the Calgary Flames were able to get up three games to two on the Oilers in their series. The Oilers would win Game 6 by a 5–1 score, but the Calgary Flames were able to vanquish their provincial rivals in Game 7 in a close 3–2 game. This was one is important as it is Calgary’s only series win over the Oilers and stopped the team from winning a third straight Stanley Cup.
1985–86 Conference Finals
As if that series wasn’t enough, the very next matchup against the St. Louis Blues also went to seven games. Luckily the Flames didn’t fall off from the high of beating the Oilers, as they were able to go back and forth with the Blues in a very close series. They won Game 7 by a score of 2–1, and clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Finals, where unfortunately they would lose to the Montreal Canadiens.
1988–89 Division Semifinals
Spoiler alert if you didn’t catch the year, but in the first round of the 1989 Stanley Cup Playoffs the Flames took the Vancouver Canucks to seven games in their first round series. The Flames were up three games to two as well in that series, before losing Game 6 and then eventually taking Game 7 off of a Joel Otto goal. This of course allowed the Flames to go on to win their first and only Stanley Cup.
1990–91 Division Semifinals
In the Flames next Game 7, they didn’t fare as well. The team was down 3–1 in the series to the Edmonton Oilers and were actually able to force a Game 7. In a 4–4 game that went to extra time, the Oilers would score the series clinching goal and move on to the second round while the Flames would go on to have very little playoff success the following years.
1993–94 Conference Quarterfinals
Going up against the Canucks again, the Calgary Flames weren’t able to repeat history. In fact, it was a terrible fall from grace as the team was actually up 3–1 in the series and lost all three final games. One of the teams’ worst playoff collapses.
1994–95 Conference Quarterfinals
In their first playoff matchup against the San Jose Sharks, the Calgary Flames were once again able to go up 3–2 in the series, before losing the final two games including a Game 7 double overtime loss on home ice. Less than ideal.
2003–04 Conference Quarterfinals
After getting swept by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 1996 playoffs, the franchise would have to wait eight more seasons before getting a chance at a playoff series. Which they of course were able to enjoy a few this season.
In the first round matchup against the Cancuks, yet again, the Flames were once again up three games to two and in Game 6 on home ice, the team went to triple overtime before losing to the Canucks. That of course would set up Game 7 where the Cancuks tied the game in the closing seconds of the third period, before Martin Gelinas’ first elimination goal game to get the Flames to the second round.
2003–04 Stanley Cup Finals
This one hurts. There never should have been a Game 7, but yet somehow there was. The Flames went back to Tampa Bay for a seventh and deciding game that was a close affair with the Lightning edging the team out by a score of 2–1.
2005–06 Conference Quarterfinals
After a lockout season, the Calgary Flames’ next first round matchup was against the Anaheim Ducks. In yet another series where the Flames were up three games to two, the team would lose it’s last two games including a 3–0 shutout loss on home ice at the hands of young goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov.
2007–08 Conference Quarterfinals
In the team’s last Game 7 before tonight, the team faced off against a the number two ranked team in the Western Conference in the San Jose Sharks. The Flames were able to force a Game 7 after being down three games to two, but unfortunately lost the deciding game 5–3. The game winner? Scored by Joe Pavelski.
What to expect?
The Calgary Flames in Game 7 have a record of 5–7 which is obviously not great. In their first five Game 7s they were actually 4-1, before going 1-6 in their next seven. What is more concerning is the consistently losing in Game 7 when the team was up 3–2 in the series. Let’s pray that trend does not continue.
If there is any consolation, the last time the Flames won a Game 7, they went to the Stanley Cup Final.
The last time Darryl Sutter won a Game 7 in the playoffs, the team he was coaching went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Time to make a mark on history.