Despite finishing 2nd in the Pacific Division, the Flames were only the 6th seed in the playoffs. They met the 2nd place finisher in the Central Division, the Chicago Blackhawks. It was the third time Calgary and Chicago had met in the playoffs, as the Flames had previously defeated the Blackhawks in 1989, 1986 and 1981. This time around, Chicago had the better of the Flames, sweeping Calgary out in four straight, and continuing the Flames playoff futility."
Wikipedia, on the Flames' playoff run in 1996
So... my sense is, everything old is new again. There are a lot of eerie little similarities here. But let's hope this time it doesn't take us another four years to make it to the playoffs.
I am not hopeful these playoffs. I don't feel we can compete with the young, star-studded Blackhawks. Chicago has been a difficult team to not cheer for this year. It's been fascinating to see the resurgence of the Central Division - when was the last time four teams from that division made it in?
While goals would be nice, I think the key for us this series will be our third and fourth lines. Our defense has been rendered as holey as Swiss cheese, so our third and fourth lines (bolstered by real actual skaters now!) will have to play a grinding, physical, shutdown role in order for any kind of success.
At any rate, we're about to be treated to a fantastic series. Good hockey will come - if at least from those crazy 'Hawks. It's nice to have them back.