After the first win in Tampa, which was impressive, the Flames played terribly in game 2, of which they lost before jumping on a plane that night and headed back home for game three, which was on last Saturday.
Game three was the one we really wanted to be at since there was a long weekend here. We sat online waiting for the tickets to go on sale from midday Friday. Of course we didn't get lucky because the tickets sold out in less than 60 seconds (and that even counted the server crashing from the overload). So, we headed up to Calgary on Friday afternoon, took the dogs with us. It was easier for them to cross the border than it was for us. The Canadian border people decided that it was our turn to be checked out, so out the truck we got for "questioning". They questioned us separately asking about court appearances and law breaking. It's interesting how funny really serious stuff can sound. Still, within 20 minutes we were back on the road.
Grabbed some dinner on the road at Fort MacLeod and headed the rest of the way into Calgary. There were a bunch of Lightning fans at the hotel we were staying at. They were drunk before we got there. We checked in and just crashed out so we could make the most of Saturday.
Saturday morning we went shopping for jerseys, we got what we wanted more or less. Pat had to wait until we got to the Saddledome to get his since his size was out all over the city. Still, he got his ;) We had lunch and went back to check on the dogs, drove around for a bit to catch the way to the Dome, went back to the hotel and walked to the game. On this overpass there were a bunch of people scalping tickets...this is what we were looking for. First guy we run into has the level three tickets for $400. No way would I pay $400 for a $50 ticket. He had some level one tickets for $1,200 each. I said no to that as well (it was up to me to decide). We moved onto the next guy and got a couple of season playoff tickets for $600 each. We bought our program and headed into the Dome, picking up beer on the way and found our seats.
Some opposing fans would come in and they would be boo'd right out again. There was no place safe for them in the Dome until the game was about to start. During the warm up Tampa was boo'd and Calgary was cheered, as you'd expect. The players would be so used to this so I'm sure it didn't shake them too much. It was really nice of the Tampa guys to throw some kids a few pucks at this time, even if they weren't cheering for them. I suppose they are advocates of the sport, but this was the type of thing they don't know on TV. These guys aren't just meatheads who fight at any opportunity.
First period was evenly matched with a couple of powerplays, which were defended quite well. Tampa was trying to keep up with the speed on the ice Calgary has. They did pretty well at the start. Powerplays went Tampa's way in the most part, but it didn't matter, they couldn't get past the man of the moment, Kipper.
As far as Sportsmanship from the spectators was concerned, there was a moment in the third period where a Calgary player rammed a Tampa player into the glass. The problem was he collected the side of his head on the joiner between the boards and the glass, which busted his face open and left him motionless on the ice for about what seemed to be 10 minutes. There was no intent in the move, it was just bad luck the guy hit where and how he did. No one on or off the ice wants to see players being wounded so badly (When Detriots captain got the puck in the eye (4 weeks ago), which busted his socket apart, everyone was equally sympathetic). Once he was able to move and they got him off the ice everyone in the Dome cheered so loudly. The Calgary fans were glad to see he was okay, even though he played for the opposition. That was one of the best things I have seen in sport as far as opposing fans go.
The highlight of the game was the first period fight between Iggy and Lecavalier. Watching them drop their gloves and go at it was fun for everyone. It was bound to happen after all the fights at the end of Game two, mostly instigated by Calgary.
Anyways, the second period is where the game was won. After a scoreless first, Calgary maintained their pace, while Tampa lost it a little, unable to keep up. Calgary scored once, then twice, then three times and it was game over. Bring on game 4! (Which incidentally Calgary lost 1-0 on Monday night).
If I knew I could make it to more than a couple of games in a year I would definitely opt for season tickets, but since a lot of the games are midweek, we'd never be able to make it.
We hit 17th Avenue after the game. There were at least 40,000 people out. We ate dinner, had a couple of beers and headed back to the Hotel, tended to the dogs and crashed out.
The next day we went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch (which sucked), and headed out to Edmonton. Once we got there we checked into our hotel, met up with a couple of people and went out for dinner and drinks. That was quite nice. Went to a few bars and headed back to the Hotel close to 4am. Was odd heading back to the Hotel to see someone outside walking our dogs. Apparently they were barking all night (they don't bark, so I assume they were playing with each other and were growling as they do when they wrestle). We crashed out until about 2pm the next day before preparing for a night of dinner, drinks and Game Four!
Game four was a great game to watch. Calgary lost 1-0 because the refs called one okayish call, but one stupid one as well against Calgary, which in a short span of time left Tampa with a 2-man advantage on the ice...well of course Tampa would score. Do bad that was the one incident that made the result. Calgary outplayed Tampa, had better scoring chances, but just couldn't mail it. It didn't help when some blatant hooking wasn't called. We won't even go into the suspension of a player because he pushed Lecavalier into the boards (which forced him off the ice, but he stayed nearby, so he couldn't be THAT bad!). This happens all the time, and now they're suspending players for it? Stupid thing to do at this time of the season.
Oh well, the series now tied 2-2, with three games to go. Game five is on tonight and is the most vital game of the series. If whoever wins only needs to win one of the two last games, while the loser will have to win two of two.
After the game we found a bottle shop that sold Coopers Sparkling Ale, so we bought the whole shop out, went back to a friends place and hungout until about 4am. Headed back to the hotel after then and headed back home the next day.