The world of sports is filled with fierce rivalries, and none are more intense than those in the world of hockey. For die-hard fans, there is nothing quite like watching their favorite team face off against their biggest rival on the ice. It’s a battle that dates back decades, filled with history, passion, and of course, plenty of heated moments. And one of the most storied rivalries in the world of hockey is that of the Calgary Flames.
As one of the original six teams of the NHL, the Calgary Flames have a rich history that dates back to 1972. From their early days as the Atlanta Flames to their move to Calgary in 1980, the Flames have always been a force to be reckoned with on the ice. And with that success comes a long list of rival teams that they have battled against over the years.
But what makes the Calgary Flames’ matchups so important? And why do they continue to captivate fans even after all these years? In this article, we will take a closer look at the Flames’ historical matchups and the impact they have had on the world of hockey.
The Early Years: Flames vs Oilers
In the early 1980s, the Flames moved from Atlanta to Calgary, bringing with them their rivalry with the Edmonton Oilers. These two Alberta-based teams quickly became bitter rivals, with their games often turning into intense physical battles on the ice.
At the time, the Oilers were one of the top teams in the league, with future hall-of-famers like Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and Paul Coffey leading the charge. On the other hand, the Flames were still building their roster and struggling to find their footing in the league.
But that didn’t stop the two teams from engaging in some of the most memorable and hard-fought games in NHL history. From the epic Game 7 showdown in the 1986 playoffs, to the infamous bench-clearing brawl in 1988, the Flames vs Oilers matchups were a must-see for any hockey fan.
In the end, the Flames and Oilers would continue to battle it out year after year, with both teams claiming Stanley Cup victories in the late 80s and early 90s. And even though the teams no longer play in the same division, their rivalry remains strong to this day.
Flames vs Canucks: A Battle for Western Canada
While the Flames vs Oilers rivalry often steals the spotlight, another heated rivalry has been brewing in Western Canada – that of the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks. Although the rivalry has existed since both teams joined the league in the early 70s, it wasn’t until the late 80s and early 90s that it really intensified.
The Flames and Canucks met in the playoffs three times in four years, with each series going the distance to a Game 7. And in each of these matchups, it was the Flames who came out on top, cementing their dominance over their Western Canadian rivals.
But the rivalry really exploded in 2004 during the infamous Battle of Alberta. After a contentious game that saw both teams rack up a total of 213 penalty minutes, the Flames and Canucks met again in the playoffs in what became known as the West Coast Express series. In the end, the Flames defeated the Canucks and went on to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Flames and Canucks’ rivalry may not have the same history as the Flames vs Oilers, but it is just as intense and continues to grow stronger with each game.
Flames vs Avalanche: A Tale of Two Powerhouses
In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames were two of the top teams in the Western Conference. Both teams were stacked with talent and had a deep history of strong performances in the playoffs. So, when they faced off against each other, it was sure to be an epic battle.
The Flames and Avalanche would meet in the playoffs five times from 2001 to 2008, with each series going to at least six games. And each matchup was filled with incredible moments, from goaltender battles between Miikka Kiprusoff and Patrick Roy, to intense physicality from players like Jarome Iginla and Joe Sakic.
In the end, the Flames and Avalanche were evenly matched, with each team claiming two series wins. But their rivalry remains a memorable one for both teams and their fans.
A Historical Perspective
With all these intense rivalries, it’s easy to see why the Flames continue to be one of the most talked-about teams in the NHL. Their matchups are filled with history, passion, and unforgettable moments that have solidified their place in hockey lore.
And as time goes on, the Flames’ rivalries continue to evolve, with new teams and new players adding fuel to the fire. But no matter who their opponent is, one thing is for sure – every game the Calgary Flames play is a must-watch for any hockey fan.