When it was first announced that Atlanta, Georgia would have an NHL franchise starting in 1972, many hockey observers thought that a team based in the southern United States was a ludicrous and foolish move. And they were right - to a point. They finished near the bottom of the league in attendance each year, and never won a playoff series during their eight seasons in Georgia.
In 1980, a soft economy in Atlanta caused the team to be sold to interests in Calgary, and the Atlanta Flames became the Calgary Flames. In their first year in Alberta, led by Kent Nilsson's 49 goals, the Flames won their first two playoff series (a sweep over the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and a seven-game victory over the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round) before bowing out to the Minnesota North Stars in the semi-finals.
By 1986 the Flames had landed Doug Risebrough, Lanny MacDonald, Dan Quinn and goalie Mike Vernon. They beat the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, beat the Edmonton Oilers in the second round on Steve Smith's fluke goal into his own net in the seventh game, and also won in seven games over the St. Louis Blues. They were no match for the Montreal Canadiens in the finals, losing in five games.
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Players of Note
Hall of Famers:
Not to be forgotten:
Calgary Flames official web site