Team Recap: 39th-Seeded ’78-’79 Atlanta Flames

The #39 seed in the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff, the '78-'79 Atlanta Flames.

The #39 seed in the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff, the ’78-’79 Atlanta Flames.

  • Ivan Boldirev (C)
    • 15 GP   7 G   2 A   9 P   -3   52 S   1 GWG   6 PIM   1 Stars
  • Dan Bouchard (G)
    • 15 GP   8-7-0   2.73 GAA   .922 SV%   2 SO   16 Stars
  • Guy Chouinard (C)
    • 15 GP   14 G   10 A   24 P   +12   75 S   3 GWG   0 PIM   12 Stars
  • Greg Fox (D)
    • 15 GP   1 G   7 A   8 P   +6   11 S   0 GWG   4 PIM   2 Stars
  • Ken Houston (RW)
    • 15 GP   3 G   3 A   6 P   -3   25 S   1 GWG   6 PIM   0 Stars
  • Ed Kea (D)
    • 15 GP   0 G   7 A   7 P   Even   11 S   0 GWG   2 PIM   0 Stars
  • Reggie Lemelin (G)
    • 2 GP   0-0-0   2.50 GAA   .898 SV%   0 SO   0 Stars
  • Tom Lysiak (C)
    • 15 GP   2 G   7 A   9 P   -1   40 S   0 GWG   4 PIM   1 Stars
  • Bob MacMillan (RW)
    • 15 GP   8 G   15 A   23 P   +12   53 S   2 GWG   0 PIM   12 Stars
  • Brad Marsh (D)
    • 15 GP   0 G   4 A   4 P   +7   11 S   0 GWG   17 PIM   0 Stars
  • Richard Mulhern (D)
    • 15 GP   1 G   4 A   5 P   +1   24 S   0 GWG   2 PIM   0 Stars
  • Bob Murdoch (D)
    • 11 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   Even   0 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Gerry O’Flaherty (LW)
    • 1 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   Even   0 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Harold Phillipoff (LW)
    • 15 GP   2 G   3 A   5 P   -4   27 S   0 GWG   16 PIM   0 Stars
  • Willi Plett (RW)
    • 14 GP   2 G   1 A   3 P   Even   22 S   0 GWG   8 PIM   0 Stars
  • Jean Pronovost (RW)
    • 15 GP   2 G   4 A   6 P   Even   28 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Pat Ribble (D)
    • 15 GP   0 G   5 A   5 P   +1   22 S   0 GWG   10 PIM   0 Stars
  • Darcy Rota (LW)
    • 15 GP   5 G   8 A   13 P   +13   31 S   0 GWG   8 PIM   1 Stars
  • Phil Russell (D)
    • 15 GP   0 G   0 A   0 P   Even   5 S   0 GWG   0 PIM   0 Stars
  • Dave Shand (D)
    • 15 GP   0 G   4 A   4 P   +1   18 S   0 GWG   6 PIM   0 Stars
  • Eric Vail (LW)
    • 15 GP   4 G   7 A   11 P   -1   43 S   1 GWG   4 PIM   5 Stars

Bold – Team Best

Team Stats:

  • Record: 8-7-0
  • Goals Scored: 51
  • Goals/Game: 3.40
  • Goals Allowed: 60
  • Goals Allowed/Game: 4.00
  • Shots: 481
  • Shots Allowed: 601
  • Shots/Game: 32.1
  • Shots Allowed/Game: 40.1
  • # of PP’s: 20
  • PPG’s: 3
  • PP%: 15.0%
  • TSH: 35
  • PPGA: 7
  • PK%: 80.0%
  • Penalties in minutes: 82

This was a very solid team and they were also the inaugural Ultimate NHL Playoff’s Cinderella. They were the lowest seed to win a series as they pulled off a huge upset in the first round and pulled another big upset again in the second round. While they remained in the tournament, they had some of the top offensive performers of the entire tournament and one of the best goaltending performances, as well.

1st Round:

Swept 26th-seeded ’08-’09 Washington Capitals, 4-0

2nd Round:

Defeated 7th-seeded ’25-’26 Ottawa Senators, 4-3

3rd Round:

Swept by 23rd-seeded ’79-’80 Buffalo Sabres, 4-0

Under head coach Fred Creighton, the ’78-’79 Flames posted a 41-31-8 record after a 10-0 start, which was good for 90 points and 4th in the Patrick Division. They finished third in the league out of 17 teams in goals for with 327 (4.09/game) and ninth in the league in goals against with 280 (3.50/game). Hockey Reference ranked the Flames’ strength of schedule as the fourth toughest in the league, and their SRS rating system had the Flames ranked as the third best team in the league. The ’05-’06 Atlanta Flames’ SRS rating (0.67) is the highest during their time in Atlanta by far. In the Preliminary Round of the playoffs, they faced a .500 Toronto Maple Leafs team, but surprisingly, were swept in the best-of-three series. That loss ended up in a coaching change the following season and that next season was the franchise’s last in Atlanta before moving to Calgary.

Bob MacMillan finished as the team’s leading-scorer with 108 points in 79 games, which was by far his best season in the NHL. The second-highest point total in MacMillan’s career was only 71 points. Guy Chouinard also posted a career-high in points with 107 points. His second-highest point total in a season is 83. Former Calder Trophy winner and All-Star Eric Vail was third on the team in points behind MacMillan and Chouinard with 83 points, once again, a career-high. Chouinard was the team’s leading goal-scorer as he potted 50 goals, the only time he would reach that mark in his nine-year career. MacMillan finished second in goals with 37, which was the second highest mark of his career. Of course, Vail was third on the team in goals with 35, which was a career-high for him. Again, MacMillan, Chouinard and Vail were top three on the team in assists. MacMillan tallied 71 assists, Chouinard tallied 57 assists and Vail tallied 48 assists, career-highs for both MacMillan and Vail.For his excellent season, MacMillan was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy. In net, veteran Dan Bouchard set a career high in games played 64 and wins with 32. However, his 3.33 goals against average was not one of his best totals.

Up next is the #40 seed, the ’77-’78 Colorado Rockies!

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