The Flames began play in 1972 in Atlanta, Georgia as the NHL reacted quickly to occupy new arenas on Long Island, New York and Atlanta, Georgia to prevent the upstart World Hockey Association from moving into those markets.
The name "Flames" originated from the famous burning of Atlanta during the American Civil War and the club would play eight seasons in Atlanta before falling ticket sales were met with a rapid rise in player costs due to the competition for players between the NHL and WHA. When an offer for the club came from Nelson Skalbania, former owner of both the Edmonton Oilers and Indianapolis Racers of the WHA, the Atlanta ownership group accepted the offer and Skalbania immediately moved the club to Calgary, Alberta and keep not only the Flames name, but their jerseys as well, with only the flaming "A" changing to a flaming "C".
While the WHA's Calgary Cowboys never captured the fans hearts during their two seasons in Calgary, the Flames were an instant hit both on and off the ice. The Flames never won a playoff round in six tries while in Atlanta, but their first season in Calgary saw them defeat the Chicago Black Hawks 3-0 and the Philadelphia Flyers in seven to advance to the semifinals where they would lose in six games to the Minnesota North Stars.
After four consecutive playoff appearances the Flames would advance to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1986 by defeating the Winnipeg Jets 3-0, their inter-provence rivals the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 and the St. Louis Blues 4-3 before losing to the Montreal Canadiens 4 games to 1.
They kept their consecutive season playoff streak alive at 14 over the next three years, setting new franchise records for points in a season each time, first with 95, then leading the league with 105 and a second consecutive President's Trophy with 117 points in 1988-89.
The 1988-89 Flames were led by Joe Mullen's 107 points, which placed him 7th overall in the league scoring race. Joe Nieuwendyk tied Mullen for the team lead on goals with 51, which were career highs for both players. Doug Gilmour tied Mullen for the most assists with 59, with defenseman Al MacInnis and Hakan Loob right behind with 58 apiece.
MacInnis and Gary Suter led the Flames blueliners with 74 and 62 points as Mike Vernon's 52 games and 37 wins led the Flames goaltending department.
Captain Lanny McDonald provided veteran leadership, as did Rob Ramage.
The Flames finished in first place in the Smythe Division and drew the fourth place Vancouver Canucks, who finished 43 points behind them in the standings, but the Canucks took the Flames all the way to overtime of Game 7 before Joel Otto scored the series winning goal on a deflection off his skate with just 39 seconds left in the first overtime period.
The Flames made quick work of the Los Angeles Kings, eliminating them in four straight to advance to the Conference Finals against Chicago. The teams split the first two games in Calgary before the Flames went on a run, winning the next three in a row to gain a rematch with the Canadiens, who had finished right behind the Flames with 115 regular season points, in the Stanley Cup Finals.
The 1989 Stanley Cup Finals remain the last time the top two seeds have met in the finals, as well as the most recent time two Canadian teams squared off for Lord Stanley's Cup.
Game 1 went to Calgary in overtime by a 3-2 score before losing 4-2 in Game 2. Montreal sustained their home ice advantage in Game 3 with a nail-biting 4-3 win in two overtimes only to have Calgary respond with a 4-2 win in Montreal in Game 4.
Game 5 in Calgary was a narrow 3-2 Flames win as McDonald scored the game winner to put Calgary up 3 games to 2 as the series moved back to Montreal.
McDonald scored the second Calgary goal and Gilmour took control with the game winning goal in the third period plus a late empty-netter to give the Flames their first, and to date only, Stanley Cup championship following a 4-2 win on this date in 1989. It would be the final goal of McDonald's 16 season NHL career, as he would retire during the off season.
MacInnis was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as he became the first defenseman to lead the NHL in playoff scoring with 31 points in 22 games.
Mullen was second for the Flames with 24 points and led the team with 16 goals. Gilmour was third with 22 to round out the players who averaged a point a game in playoff scoring.
Today's featured jersey is a 1988-89 Calgary Flames Al MacInnis jersey. This was the first time that the two participating teams would wear a special commemorative patch for the final series of the playoffs, a tradition which continues to this day, although the customary location for the patch changed from the left shoulder to the upper right chest the following season.
The Flames would continue to wear this style jersey through the 1993-94 season until it was replaced after 22 seasons of use and a change in logo after the franchise's relocation from Atlanta to Calgary.
Today's video section begins with a brief highlight of the Flames overtime series winning goal in Game 7 against Vancouver.
Next up is Lanny McDonald's Game 6 goal in the cup finals.
This video is of the final seconds of the Game 6 and the Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup presentations.