Flames rally around secret

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:02 PM ET


 Rats proved to be the rallying point for Dave Lowry and the Florida Panthers during their Cinderella run in the 1996 NHL playoffs.

 Nasty little critters, sure.

 But lucky nonetheless.

 "We've got a rally cry here," said the 39-year-old Lowry, talking about his Cinderella Calgary Flames. "But we're not releasing it to the public, right now. It's something that just happened and it's something we'll keep tight-lipped, right now."

 Whatever it is, it appears to be working for the Flames.

 Then again, there is something to their on-ice product: Grit, speed, physicality and, above all, a remarkable commitment to teamwork in this electrifying post-season run.

 Just like when the Panthers drove all the way to the Stanley Cup final before being swept by the Colorado Avalanche.

 "The biggest comparisons you can make is No. 1, we have strong goaltending and No. 2 is we realize we need everyone to win," Lowry said. "And that was the exact same thing in Florida. We had (goalie John Vanbiesbrouck standing on his head) and we knew we needed to have everyone playing well that night. And if we didn't, we didn't usually win."

 That year saw the Panthers pull off enough playoff wins to make even the fans of South Florida stand up and take notice. In fact, Lowry said, it wasn't far off the enthusiasm found around these parts this spring.

 "We could go on and draw comparisons. But ... that was that team and this is this team. And I think that the most important thing here is that we realize there's a certain way for us to play. We're trying to create our own identity."


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