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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

A brief history of Flames Game 7 triumphs and tragedy

Sunday night features the deciding seventh game between the Calgary Flames and the Dallas Stars. This is obviously not the first Game 7 the Flames have played in the post-season.

Here’s a brief snapshot of their triumphant Game 7s, and those that were less jubilant and successful.

Game 7 losses

1984: lost to the Edmonton Oilers 7-4 in the second round

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After going down 3-1 in the series, the Flames forced a Game 7 with back-to-back 5-4 wins. And in Game 7, the Flames answered back twice and rallied from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to take a brief 4-3 lead. But they didn’t have enough firepower to keep up, and ended up losing 7-4.

1991: lost to the Oilers 5-4 (in overtime) in the first round

After going down 3-1 in the series, just like in 1984, the Flames managed to rally back and force a Game 7. The Flames got out to a 3-0 lead, only for the Oilers to come back and take a 4-3 lead. Ron Stern scored a late goal to force overtime, but Esa Tikkanen scored in extra time to end the series.

1994: lost to the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 (in double overtime) in the first round

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This one is painful. The Flames got out to a 3-1 series lead, then lost three consecutive overtime games to get bounced by the Canucks. In Game 7, the Flames had leads of 1-0 and 3-2, but Greg Adams scored late in regulation to force overtime and Pavel Bure scored the deciding goal early in the second period of extra time.

1995: lost to the San Jose Sharks 5-4 (in double overtime) in the first round

The Flames earned a 3-2 series lead and had two chances to finish the Sharks off. They lost both. In Game 7, the Flames never had a lead, trailing 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2, with the Flames repeatedly rallying back Joe Nieuwendyk and German Titov scored in the third period to force overtime, only for Ray Whitney to score the winner in double overtime.

2004: lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in the Stanley Cup Final

The Flames had a chance to win in Game 6 but couldn’t bury their chances and then they just ran out of steam in Game 7. The Lightning were the better team in Game 7, scoring first and never trailing.

2006: lost to the Anaheim Ducks 3-0 in the first round

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The Flames spotted themselves a 3-2 series lead, with hockey fans and commentators salivating over a potential Battle of Alberta looming with a Flames victory. But the Flames lost a close Game 6, then had nothing left in the tank in a 3-0 loss to the Ducks where Anaheim simply bottled up Calgary’s big offensive weapons.

2008: lost to the Sharks 5-3 in the first round

The Flames rallied back from a 3-2 series deficit to force Game 7, but simply ran out of steam and lost 5-3 to the Sharks. The Flames briefly led 2-1 early in the second period, but the Sharks took the game over in the middle frame and the Flames had no answer for them.

Game 7 wins

1981: beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 in the second round

Three consecutive power play goals (Willi Plett, Ken Houston, Kevin LaVallee) gave the Flames an early lead. Bob MacMillan added some insurance in the third period. The Flyers were never really in this one and the Flames made the third round for the first time in franchise history.

1986: beat the Oilers 3-2 in the second round

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This was a franchise-defining moment. The Flames got out to a 2-0 lead off goals from Hakan Loob and Jim Peplinski. The Oilers came back in second to tie it up off goals from Glenn Anderson and Mark Messier. Steve Smith’s infamous own-goal 5:14 into third period held up as the series winner, as the Flames defended well and held on to make that goal hold up.

1986 third round: beat St. Louis (2-1)

The Flames got out to an early 2-0 lead off goals from Al MacInnis and Colin Patterson. Blues forward Eddy Beers broke up Mike Vernon’s shutout bid with 1:58 remaining in regulation, but the Flames held on for the victory.

1989 first round: beat Vancouver (4-3, OT)

In a back-and-forth battle, these two teams exchanged goals, eventually ending up in overtime. In a franchise-defining sequence, Mike Vernon robbed Stan Smyl on a breakaway with a glove save. A little later, Joel Otto scored on Kirk McLean to end one heck of a series.

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2004 first round: beat Vancouver (3-2, OT)

This game was a rollercoaster, and ended up being the first series win that the Flames had since the 1989 Stanley Cup Final. The Flames never trailed in this game, leading 1-0 and then 2-1 off goals from somebody named Jarome Iginla. Matt Cooke scored to tie the game with six seconds in regulation, but Martin Gelinas began to build his resume as The Eliminator with the overtime winner, burying the rebound from an Iginla shot.

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