Dono-mite upset of '95

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:48 PM ET


 Shean Donovan remembers the electricity in the Saddledome as the series-winning overtime goal hit the back of the net.

 Not Martin Gelinas' heroics Monday night, which set off a wild night of partying in Calgary and shipped the powerful Red Wings home to Detroit for the summer.

 Donovan's fond memories are of the 1995 Western Conference quarter-finals with his young San Jose Sharks upsetting the No. 2-seeded Flames in double-overtime of Game 7.

 "I remember we were out-matched and out-classed but in the end we had great goaltending," Donovan recalled of the night Ray Whitney silenced the 'Dome by banging home the winner behind Flames netminder Trevor Kidd.

 "(Arturs) Irbe started the series but then (Wade) Flaherty came in and stood on his head. I remember Game 7 here, it was just awesome. A great experience.

 "I was young and I was in the minors for Games 1 through 4 but they called me up for Game 5 through 7 and we were down 3-2 in games.

 "I played in Game 7. Didn't play much but I played and it was fun."

 Despite playing parts of 10 seasons in the NHL, the Sharks' second-round pick in the 1993 draft has never made it to a Stanley Cup final, let alone win a ring. But the Flames' series win over Detroit and memories of past failures have him eager to help the team get to the next stage of the playoffs.

 "(1995) was totally different (than Game 6 vs. Detroit)," Donovan said.

 "It was kind of overwhelming because I didn't really play much. But when you're young, you think you're going to play in the playoffs every year and when we ended up winning against Calgary we thought, 'OK, now we'll just go on and win the Stanley Cup.'

 "But, obviously, we lost out in the second round (to Detroit) and now it's so much better. I've taken a lot away from it because I'm a bigger part of it."

 His parts of four seasons in San Jose came to a close in November of 1997 when he was shipped to Colorado for centre Mike Ricci before eventually making his way to Calgary a year ago via Pittsburgh.

 Despite his many travels, Donovan still has ties to San Jose, such as playing alongside veteran Sharks defenceman Mike Rathje.

 "It's fun, it's cool to go back and see some people that are old friends in San Jose but on the ice, it's just like playing anybody," Donovan predicts.

 "We know what we have to do to play well against them.

 "It's fun but I'll be thinking more about our team that theirs."

 He also insists the tables have turned since the last time the Sharks and Flames met in the playoffs.

 Donovan installed San Jose as considerable favourites when the puck drops Sunday for Game 1.

 "For sure, they're the second-ranked team in the conference this year ... They've had a great season, so for sure we're underdogs," Donovan suggested.

 "We have to go in there, keep it simple and keep working the way we have been playing. But for sure, we're underdogs."


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