British Columbia

Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames: Renewing a Stanley Cup playoff rivalry

Three opening-round series between the Canucks and Flames over the past 26 years have produced three Game 7 overtime heroes.

If the past is any indication, expect a long series, and then some

Canucks-Flames heartbreaks and heroes

CBC News Vancouver at 6

6 years ago
Otto,. Bure. Gelinas. Game 7 overtime goal scoring heroes from Canucks-Flames opening round playoffs of the past. 0:44

Joel Otto was the man in 1989.

Pavel Bure grabbed the glory in 1994.

And in 2004, Martin Gelinas took the title as game seven overtime hero.

The history of opening round playoff match ups between the Canucks and Flames is remarkable. Three times they have met, three times they have gone the distance -- and beyond -- to overtime of game seven.

It was a big part of what fuelled a heated rivalry back in the day, but it's been a while. So, rev up the Red Mile, and start powering those white towels.

The overachieving Flames and somewhat surprising Canucks are set to breathe new life into what was once the most fun head-to-head in hockey. 

Calgary Flames

45-30-7, 97 pts, finished 3rd in Pacific Divison.

Top goal scorer: Jiri Hudler 31 goals, Sean Monahan 31 goals.

Calgary wasn't supposed to make the playoffs, especially after losing defensive star and captain Mark Giordano to injury. But low expectations have been overcome by youthful exuberance and an excellent road record.  

Similar to the Canucks, the Flames have shown an uncanny ability to win games after going down a goal. Whether they can maintain their mojo in the playoffs is a big question.

So is depth. Calgary last made the postseason in 2009. Their fans are pumped, and so is Boring Sean Monahan, one of twitter's best fake accounts.

Vancouver Canucks

48-29-5, 101 pts, finished 2nd in Pacific Division

Top goal scorer: Radim Vrbata 31 goals

Coming off the John Tortorella failed experiment, not much was expected from the 2014-15 Canucks. But like Calgary, Vancouver has proven surprisingly resilient.

Buoyed by the excellent goaltending of Eddie Lack, an improving power play and a Sedin twin renaissance, the Canucks are back in the playoffs after missing out last year.

Fans in Vancouver are pleasantly surprised. However, they will still need convincing before jumping back on the bandwagon with both feet.

The Canucks haven't won a single playoff game in their last 11 attempts. 

Lack has sworn of twitter for the playoffs:

But Momma Mia Lack might pick up the slack:

Good 'ol days revisited

  • 1989 game seven O.T. — Final minute of the first overtime period — mere seconds after Bob Cole announces on the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, "We've seen everything, except a goal," Jim Peplinski fires a sharp angle shot on Kirk McLean. The puck bounces in off the skate of Joel Otto. Kicked in according to Canuck fans.

  • 1994 game seven O.T. — After winning in overtime in Game 5 (Geoff Courtnall) and in Game 6 (Trevor Linden)  the Canucks pull off one of the most spectacular series comebacks ever, when Bure beats Flames goalie Mike Vernon in double overtime of Game seven.  

  • 2004 game seven O.T. — Former Canuck favourite Martin Gelinas breaks Vancouver hearts scoring the series winner early in O.T. Vancouver goaltender Alex Auld loses what little hair he has left.

Fairy dust factor

The winner of the previous Canucks/Flames first round series has advanced to the Stanley Cup final. Calgary won the Cup in 1989. The 1994 Canucks and 2004 Flames were Stanley Cup runners up.


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