CALGARY, AB -- Joe Colborne
isn’t too old, and wasn’t too young, to remember the ruckus caused by a run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2004.
Barely a teenager at the time, Colborne can recall life inside Scotiabank Saddledome as a Calgary Flames fan in the dramatic sprint that fell just short.
“It was one of the coolest hockey experiences of my life,” said Colborne, who got an up-close-and-personal look at the Vancouver Canucks -- Sunday’s opponent -- and the Detroit Red Wings as part of the magical postseason some 11 years ago.
“It was so loud in there, I remember. I'd been to Flames games before, but it was completely different, just the whole atmosphere. I made sure I was there for warm-ups and it seemed like the stands were packed for warm-ups even.”
At 25 years young, Colborne will be center stage at the Saddledome for Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round matchup with the Canucks (8 p.m. MT, CBC, SN960).
And given it’s the first postseason skate in Calgary since 2009, Colborne expects a 2004-esque atmosphere.
“It's going to be pretty special,” said Colborne, a native Calgarian. “It's going to be loud. It's going to be a lot of fun. We're all excited in there. We were talking about it -- we wish it was today.”
After splitting the opening two games of the series in Vancouver, the Flames return with home-ice advantage.
They’ve already been enjoying it.
“It was funny. We got back late last night and driving home and you still see a bunch of people walking home with Flames jerseys home,” Colborne said. “More weaving home, I think. The support we've had so far has been unbelievable. Even, in Vancouver, there were a ton of Flames fans out supporting us. We're real excited for tomorrow.”
The excitement trickled over into Saturday morning.
“It’s going to be crazy. It is already crazy,” coach Bob Hartley said. “This morning just driving downtown and the flags and everything…it’s going to be lots of fun. We’ve got part of the job done in Vancouver to gain home-ice advantage. Now Game 3 and Game 4 are in Calgary so lets take advantage of our situation. We’ve put ourselves in a good situation.”
The boost won’t be unlike some late-season support the Flames received.
Needing a win to clinch against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles, Calgary was treated to a boisterous crowd that helped the Flames clinch in the second-last game of the regular season.
Sean Monahan, set for his first home playoff date, expects nothing less against the Canucks.
"It was an exciting game against the Kings,” he said. “Obviously the crowd was behind us and it feels like the whole city is behind us and we have to use that to our advantage. Tomorrow is going to be a real exciting game.
"You get the little shakes and you feel it inside. We have to control our emotions -- it's playoffs -- and we've got to focus on the details and find a way to get the job done."
The crowd, Hartley suggested, will provide the jolt.
The Flames, Hartley declared, have to take advantage.
“It’s always huge because you always use this basically as a first stepping stone but at the same time the fans will do their share,” he said. “We have to do our share also. It’s always a combination. The fans cannot score. We have to play our game. It’s going to be electric tomorrow in this building, the ‘Red Mile’ and everything we saw on the news.”
Just like 2004.
“That's definitely where you have those dreams of maybe play in one day,” Colborne said.
“Tomorrow, I'll have the chance.”