Black paint, fedoras and even Jacques Plante’s mask were all a part of tonight’s Tim Hortons Heritage Classic in Calgary as the Flames and Montreal Canadiens took the ice outside at McMahon Stadium (home of the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders).
But beyond the vintage and sometimes unusual additions that come along with an outdoor event like tonight’s, two points were still up for grabs and the Flames continued there improbable run towards the playoffs with a 4-0 victory.
“That was a lot of fun for us. It's a big win,” said Rene Bourque in a post-game interview with AFP. “It's great to see 40,000 fans in the stands. To win makes it extra special.”
Bourque led the way for the Flames scoring two goals (the second was the 100th of his career) while Miikka Kiprusoff made 39 saves for his fourth shutout of the season.
After opening the new year with just one win in their first five games the Flames have caught fire going 14-2-3 in their last 19 games shooting up to sixth place in a tight Western Conference.
Tonight’s game marked the NHL’s second outdoor game of 2011 – it was just six weeks ago that the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins took the ice at Heinz Field for the NHL’s fourth annual Winter Classic.
But while Ovechkin and Crosby were the centerpieces of the Winter Classic (not to mention an HBO mini series too) today’s festivities were coupled with a Heritage alumni game played by some of the best all-time Canadiens and Flames yesterday, which brought some history to the modern day fans.
Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Roberts, Lanny McDonald, Theo Fluery, Brian Skrudland and Kirk Muller were just a few off the “old timers” who took the ice Saturday afternoon prior to Sundays NHL duel.
“How fitting to have these two teams play in the outdoor game -- one team wins [the Stanley Cup] in '86, one wins in '89, and we get to kind of relive those memories all over again,” Lanny McDonald told NHL.com Thursday while taking part in a Canadian Tire NHL Skills Camp in Calgary. “It's great for the game. It's great for the kids because hopefully they'll see how much fun we're still having at our age.”
Both the Flames and Canadiens will get Monday off before heading back into action indoors Tuesday as the Flames take on the Boston Bruins at home and the Canadiens hit the road for a clash with the Vancouver Canucks.