In the National Hockey League, the only team that’s really happy with their season is the one that has a parade. 30 years ago today, the Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup and qualified to have a parade.
The 1988-89 Flames went into the post-season feeling they had something to prove. The previous season, they finished first overall – winning the Presidents’ Trophy – but were swept in the second round by the dastardly Edmonton Oilers. So the Flames went out and won their second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy and then tried not to disappoint again.
They almost lost in the first round.
The opening series saw the Flames matched up with the Vancouver Canucks. The Flames lost Game 1 in overtime but ended taking three of the four home games in the series. But some strong performances from goalie Mike Vernon – he had two shutouts – and Hakan Loob led the Flames with five goals in the series, while Joel Otto scored a deflection goal (off his skate) to clinch the series win in overtime of Game 7. The Flames out-scored the Canucks 26-20.
After their scare in the first round, the Flames got rolling for the next two rounds. They swept the Los Angeles Kings in four games, powered by five goals from Doug Gilmour. Then they beat the Chicago Blackhawks in five games. They split the first two games in Calgary, then the Flames won the next three to move on to the Stanley Cup Final.
In their second Stanley Cup Final in four years, the Flames met up with the Montreal Canadiens and beat them in six game. The teams split the first two games at the Saddledome and then the Flames lost Game 3 in Montreal in double overtime. From there, the Flames rallied back and won three games in a row to capture their first Cup. Joe Mullen had five goals in the series, while Gilmour scored twice in Game 6 (including the game-winner) to win the series.
Game 6 was also the last NHL game ever for both Loob and Lanny McDonald – Loob returned to Sweden, while McDonald retired.
In the post-season, the Flames went 9-3 at home and 7-3 on the road. Three players had multiple game-winning goals: Al MacInnis (4), rookie Theoren Fleury (3) and Gilmour (3). Mullen led the playoffs with 16 goals and 91 shots, while MacInnis led the playoffs in points.
The Flames have won just four playoff rounds (and 44 playoff games) in the 29 seasons since the Cup win.