Earlier this week, the C of Red was out in full force to cheer on their team during Games 3 and 4 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Thousands of fans showed up hours before puck drop to take part in the pre-game tailgate festivites, the 'Dome was swathed in red as soon as the doors opened, and the "Go Flames Go" chants rang throughout the arena all night.
Now, on a Saturday night with the Flames up 3-2 in the series, the team expects the building to be even louder in Game 6.
"It gives you energy. You come out and you get those little shivers, standing on the ice before the game starts," Sean Monahan grinned. "They're here to support and they want us to win. With that passion that they have, you want to do it for them and find a way for the outcome you want.
"We'll do whatever we can to get [that win] in front of them and I think tonight's going to be our night."
The fans passion for the team and the game is one of the things that drew Bob Hartley to the city when former general manager Jay Feaster spoke to him about the possibility of coaching the Flames.
"I came here three years ago and that’s the first thing I talked to Craig Conroy and Martin Gelinas about. I remember in 2004 watching it on the news," the bench boss reminisced on . "I had a friend at Reebok at that time telling me that every factory that they had around the world, they were only manufacturing one jersey. The flaming C. They were selling like hot cakes.
"Right now we feel the same. You go to shopping malls, restaurants, you go get gas and you need to sprint to the nozzle because fans want to pump your gas for you. That’s how crazy it is right now, but it’s fun. I think that we are a big part of the culture here in the city."
The Flames have had a strong start in most of their first round series games against the Canucks, scoring in the opening frame in the last three outings. They are looking for another big effort right off the hop this evening.
"We need a good start, obviously," Kris Russell said. "When you get down to these final games, it's crucial to play a good 60 minutes. It starts in the beginning; we've got to make sure we establish our forecheck early and get everyone involved and our speed going."
The Flames have relied on offence from all four lines and their blueliners in the series -- Russell leads the team in scoring with four points -- and that has enabled them to gain the 3-2 lead over the Canucks.
But the Flames top trio of Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, and Jiri Hudler are looking to produce more consistently. They have been held to a combined seven points in five games and want to provide more for their team and the C of Red.
"As the games get more important, you want to step up more," Monahan stated. "Those big games, you want to be the guy to a make a difference. I think tonight is one of those games and that's why you play hockey."
EYES ON THE PRIZE
Much like their game against the Los Angeles Kings on Apr. 9, the Flames have the Canucks on the ropes and have the chance to end their season. And much like that game earlier this month, they do have another opportunity to wrap things up if need be.
But Game 7 isn't something they're considering. The Flames aren't thinking past tonight's tilt. Their focus is on beating Vancouver this evening and they aren't letting their minds wander past that.
"We're definitely not looking to take it to Game 7," Brandon Bollig stated firmly. "It's a one-game-win-all type deal. We know if we lose it we're not done but I think we need to look at it like we have the desperation and mindset.
"They were much more desperate last game and we have to match theirs or surpass it. We have to bring much more intensity tonight and we're going to have to go out and earn it. We know we have to do all the little things and win every battle and earn the win tonight. With that being said we know that, that's our approach and that's what we're going to do."
Hartley confirmed the Flames will go with the same lineup they have iced over the previous three games. CalgaryFlames.com's Projected Lines feature breaks down what lines and pairings the team will likely utilize this evening.
Jonas Hiller once again gets the start. The Swiss netminder is 3-2 in the postseason with a 1.84 GAA and a .942 save percentage.
"I don't know if anything compares to a Stanley Cup Playoff game. I've played in playoffs before in the OHL, I know how tough it is to get that fourth win. Definitely, we've got to bring everything tonight." - Sam Bennett
Game 6 will be broadcast on CBC (TV) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio). Game time is 7:00 PM MT. The Flames pre-game tailgate festivities kick off at 4:00 PM MT.
The Calgary Flames official Twitter account (@NHLFlames) will be live-tweeting the game and providing pre and post-game content. Fans can also follow along on the Flames official Instagram account (@NHLFlames) for exclusive, behind-the-scenes content.
The Calgary Flames official app is another way to follow along with the action, with goal and period summary notifications. The app is free and available to download on iTunes and Google Play.