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Wait for Cup opponent finally ends for Flames

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Published May 23, 2004

CALGARY - Flames forward Chris Clark was happy to get back on his skates Saturday.

Calgary clinched the Western Conference title Wednesday night when it eliminated San Jose, but that set up a five-day break before the start of the Stanley Cup final.

"I was looking for ice (Friday), I'm not a big fan of taking days off like that," Clark said after the Flames held their first on-ice workout since the series clincher.

"It felt terrible - you take a day off and it's like you've never skated before," said Clark as Calgary prepared for its first appearance in the final since winning the Stanley Cup 15 years ago.

Eager to continue their unlikely march through the playoffs, the Flames were waiting for the winner of Game 7 of the East final, which Tampa Bay won 2-1 Saturday. The Lightning hosts the Flames on Tuesday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.

The Flames skate early today before flying out to start their fourth straight series on the road. There was a sense of playfulness around the Flames with a lot of joking on the ice and off.

"It was good to get some of the rust off - if you looked at practice closely there was a lot of it out there," defenseman Andrew Ference said. "It's trying to get that intensity back up and peaked by the time we start the series. Everybody's antsy."

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