The Calgary Flames lost to the Dallas Stars on Sunday afternoon, evening up their best-of-seven series at two wins apiece. This makes the remainder of the series effectively a best-of-three, with the team that wins twice taking the series and moving on to the second round.
The Flames have been in this situation 13 times previously.
A look back…
- 1986 Smythe Division Final: Calgary beat Edmonton in seven games
- 1986 Campbell Conference Final: Calgary beat St. Louis in seven games
- 1989 Smythe Division Semi-Final: Calgary beat Vancouver in seven games
- 1993 Smythe Division Semi-Final: Los Angeles beat Calgary in six games
- 1995 Western Conference Quarterfinal: San Jose beat Calgary in seven games
- 2004 Western Conference Quarterfinal: Calgary beat Vancouver in seven games
- 2004 Western Conference Semi-Final: Calgary beat Detroit in six games
- 2004 Western Conference Final: Calgary beat San Jose in six games
- 2004 Stanley Cup Final: Tampa Bay beat Calgary in seven games
- 2006 Western Conference Quarterfinal: Anaheim beat Calgary in seven games
- 2007 Western Conference Quarterfinal: Detroit beat Calgary in six games
- 2008 Western Conference Quarterfinal: San Jose beat Calgary in seven games
- 2009 Western Conference Quarterfinal: Chicago beat Calgary in six games
Trends and streaks
So, the Flames are historically 6-7 in series that are tied 2-2. They’ve won basically at the same rate as a coin toss in these situations.
They’ve lost the last five series they’ve been in tied 2-2, dating back to the 2004 Stanley Cup Final.
The importance of Game 5
The Flames have won Game 5 and taken a 3-2 series lead in nine of the 13 series they’ve been tied 2-2. Of those nine series, they ended up winning six of them – that’s all six series that they’ve won when tied 2-2.
It seems obvious but it’s worth repeating: winning three games before the other team can is a great way to win four games before they can (and advancing in the post-season).
For the curious, here’s what the Flames’ lineup looked like for Game 5 of the last 2-2 series, 2009’s first round match-up with Chicago:
- Goalies: Miiikka Kiprusoff (starter) and Curtis McElhinney
- Defensemen: Dion Phaneuf (starter), Jordan Leopold (starter), James Vandermeer, Cory Sarich, Adrian Aucoin and Adam Pardy
- Forwards: Jarome Iginla (starter), Olli Jokinen (starter), Rene Bourque (starter), Todd Bertuzzi, Mike Cammalleri, Dustin Boyd, Curtis Glencross, Daymond Langkow, Eric Nystrom, Craig Conroy, David Moss and Warren Peters
Of everyone dressed, only McElhinney is still playing in the NHL. Meaning? The Flames’ Game 5 failures, and failures in 2-2 series, are basically ancient history.
They can write a new chapter on Tuesday afternoon against Dallas.