My second favorite NHL team trips into the 'Dome tonight, so the game promises to be an entertaining one...for me, at least.
Calgary took a marginal step forward last game in terms of overall play, but two glaring problems were still in evidence - 1.) below average money forwards and 2.) drowning in the 3rd period.
Iginla and Jokinen were better last game, if "better" means "marginally less of a liability". That probably had more to do with the shuffling of lines and match-ups than any clear step forward by either player, however. Jokinen played with checkers against nobodies and generated absolutely nothing at ES. Iginla had a more responsible center, played with one of the club's better performing wingers and looked "more involved" according to many observers...but still managed to get his head beat in at ES in terms of possession and was even in terms of scoring chances. Those are awful results for what was once the elite RWer in the Western Conference (if not the league). At some point, something has to turn around for one or both of these guys. Unfortunately, I can't point to any particular external issue which may be causing the problems, so your guess is as good as mine as to when that will happen. Perhaps never?
As for the third period, JL pointed out recently that Calgary has been killing clubs at the start of games this year...only to give it all back (and sometimes more) at the end. Of course, there's "playing to the score" effects which influences most teams to some degree, but what we've seen in Calgary so far is much worse than reverting to a "shut down" defense to close out a win. Mainly because nothing akin to "shutting down" occurs - they give up more shots, take more penalties and surrender a ton of goals. Yes...I think that in fact is the opposite of shutting the other team down. Cut it out, boys.
It'll be interesting to see who faces Rick Nash (who has become for the BJ's what Iginla once was for the Flames) this evening. At this point, I don't see a forward unit that can handle Nash at ES. There's a couple defensive pairings to choose from, of course, but given the lack of a checking line and/or power vs. power option, chances are the Flames will just have to hope to limit the damage while Nash is on the ice and try to cash in against the other CBJ units. The good news is, Commodore and Hejda are out and the Flames have last change. Probably not going to get a better opportunity than this one.
Let's have at it.