Enemy Perspective: Nucks Misconduct
Of course it had to come to this. With apologies to the pitiful Oilers, Vancouver has been the Flames main rival for the better part of the decade. For that reason, many Flames fans doubtlessly perused the sched back in October and identified this evening's contest as a potential barn shaker. And, if so, they were right - despite leading by as many as 13 points just 8 weeks ago, Calgary's chance to clinch third seed in the conference comes down to the final game between the two teams tonight in GM place. It's appropriate and compelling as a narrative I suppose, but Im sure most of us (on either side of the rivalry) would have preferred a sewn up title before now.
Anyways, a Flames win clinches the division, but a loss complicates matters. The Canucks would equal the Flames in points, but still trail in terms of wins (the tie breaker), meaning: Calgary can still win the division even if they lose this evening. So there's that.
- I hate the Canucks. They've employed consummate douchebags for years. Like Sharks teeth, when one leaves (Matt Cooke) another takes his place (Alex Burrows).
- The Flames stink on the second nights of B2B's. A win tonight would be quite the reversal of fortune.
- Vancouver isn't great at any one thing, but the combination of disparate parts makes for a competent whole. I think pretentious german intellectuals call that "gestalt": Their top two lines are fairly dangerous featuring Sedin(s)/Sundin/Kesler and Burrows, while the bottom half of the roster is exploitable. And Luongo is one of the best in the biz.
- The Canucks went through their own swoon earlier in the year, but have been one of the hottest teams in the league during the final quarter of the regular season. Luckily for the Flames, that hot streak recently came to an end versus the Oilers, Ducks and Avalanche.
- Calgary's PP is beyond terrible at this point. They've gone 0-31 during this enduring spate of ineptitude, which has featured a number of lengthy yet wasted 5on3 opportunities. The only time the Flames man advantage looks at all capable is when it doesn't feature the likes of Iginla, Jokinen or Bertuzzi. That said, even with obvious systemic faults cluttering the performance, surely the club is due for a freak bouncer to find the back of the net...?
- Im not sure of the match-ups tonight, but Im not looking forward to Jokinen facing either the Sedins or Kesler, even if he's again paired with Jarome. Dude has some major issues in the defensive end of the ice.