What a rush for Game 7

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:54 PM ET


 VANCOUVER -- Game 7 is a moment to remember in a hockey player's career.

 Win or lose, young or old.

 In the first, second, third or final round.

 "It's exciting and that's why you battle so hard in the regular season," said Flames centre Stephane Yelle before last night's deciding game in their quarter-final series with the Canucks.

 "Game 7s are what you play hockey for when you're a kid. Then, you're playing Game 7 to win a Stanley Cup.

 "But Game 7 in a first round is exciting, too. It gives you a rush. It's what hockey's all about."

 Martin Gelinas scored just 1:25 into overtime to propel the Calgary Flames into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

 They'll face the Detroit Red Wings Thursday night in the Motor City (5:30 p.m., CBC).

 The Vancouver Canucks were eliminated from hockey's annual quest for the Holy Grail.

 But that kind of pressure didn't put a damper on what most players in both camps considered the best kind of game the sport has to offer.

 "You try to have fun with it," said Bryan Allen, who played in his first Game 7 last night.

 Netminder Alex Auld was the only other Canuck to make his seventh-game debut.

 "All the playoff games, I think, are nothing different -- they're pretty exciting," said Allen. "But Game 7, it's history. It's fun."

 Especially for a Canadian kid.

 "Oh yeah, you remember CBC and Hockey Night in Canada," continued the 23-year-old Allen.

 "You always remember watching playoffs and you remember just how exciting it was just to watch a Game 7, so it's exciting to be part of one."

 And not simply the first one, either.

 Like fellow veteran Yelle, Canucks grinder Brad May was all smiles in anticipation of last night's deciding contest in the opening round series, even though it's become old hat for him.

 "It's our livelihood and this is what you dream about as a child," said May, prior to playing in his fifth career Game 7.

 "As a young kid in Canada playing, you put yourself in all the situations. Now you're living them."

 So, too, are the Americans and Europeans, who find the experience every bit as exciting.

 "I've been watching it all my life," Flames winger Chris Clark, a Connecticut native, said of his first Game 7 in the NHL.

 "Now I'm involved and it's a special feeling.

 "It'll be fun afterwards, when you look back on it.

 "You just think about it as playing and trying to play well and it'll be something special to look back on and think about afterward," Clark added.


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