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Greatest Games: Calgary Flames – Legend Lanny's Perfect Ending

McDonald’s memorable go-ahead goal in the 1989 Cup final was preceded by prayers in penalty box.

No. 1 – May 25, 1989 – Calgary 4, Montreal 2

The vignettes from the Flames’ lone Stanley Cup-clinching game in 1989 are endless, but two stand out. The first is Lanny McDonald, wearing the captain’s ‘C’ in his last NHL game, capping his career with a crucial goal. The other is from the post-victory celebratory on-ice photo op with McDonald holding the Cup like a precious child and Bob Cole’s words on the TV broadcast, “You’ve done it, Lanny. You’ve done it.”

“As exciting as it was, I knew it was coming to the end for me, and it was the most peaceful feeling,” McDonald said. “When you finally do it, you have that feeling, ‘I can hit the road now.’ ”

There have been many great games in the Flames’ history, but none can match their 4-2 win in Game 6 of the Cup final in Montreal for the franchise’s one and only NHL title.

That it was McDonald’s chance to go out a champion remains the overriding storyline, and the fact he scored the go-ahead goal early in the second period makes it all the better. But McDonald recalls just as vividly the emotions he experienced for a few minutes before. After he failed to convert a golden opportunity, he took a holding penalty. “I said about 200 Hail Marys while in the penalty box, the good Catholic boy I am,” McDonald said. “I was trying to get any help I could.”

Shortly after returning to the ice, McDonald joined an odd-man rush, took a pass from Joe Nieuwendyk and scored on Patrick Roy to make it 2-1. Thanks to two third-period goals by Doug Gilmour, the Flames became the only road team to clinch a Cup in the hallowed Forum, after which they received a standing ovation from the Habs faithful.

No. 2 – April 30, 1986 – Calgary 3, Edmonton 2
Known for Steve Smith's infamous own-goal, this Game 7 victory over the archrival Oilers was a turning point for the franchise.

No. 3 – April 19, 2004 – Calgary 3, Vancouver 2 (OT)
With a nailbiter of an overtime win in Game 7 of the first round, Calgary’s surprising run to the 2004 Stanley Cup final began.


Theoren Fleury
May 13, 1995 – Calgary 6, San Jose 4
The game summary says Fleury had four goals and an assist in this Game 4 victory over the Sharks. But that’s only part of the story.

Fleury was vilified in San Jose, targeted with abuse that bordered on hatred. Emotionally charged, he was happy to collect the goals – and then ensure the local fans knew who had scored. His ability to give it back to the crowd wasn’t pure disdain, as Fleury always liked to entertain the masses. “The more I interacted with the audience, the more they felt they were part of the game,” he said. “I loved it.”


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