This evening we get to see if the outburst versus the Hurricanes was an aberration born of adrenaline and a lesser opponent or if we're into something more permanent here. Of course, FLA is arguably a worse team, but you know what I mean.
If this feels like the start of a new season to you, there's a reason - the Flames turned over more of their roster in the last week than they did during the off-season. Seriously. In the summer, they added Dawes, Sjostrom, McGrattan and Bouwmeester. Since last Saturday, they've added Hagman, White, Stajan, Higgins, Kotalik, Mayers and Backlund (sort of). As a result, most of the stats and work we've put into tracking the club's performance up until this point can basically be thrown out the window.
Stuff to consider:
- With that last sentence in mind, the Flames apparently have less than a 50% chance of making the post-season according to Sports Club Stats. Anyone still wondering what spurred Sutter to take such a radical route need only glance at the linked graph for the answer.
- The Panthers have some underappreciated players. Stephen Weiss was mentioned by Bob below, but for my money the best of the bunch may be David Booth. He scores at a high rate at ES, can take on tough competition and he moves the puck forward at a high rate (depsite the fact his team is terrible at it).
- Florida has lackluster depth after their name guys however. The bottom end of their roster gets killed on a nightly basis in terms of possession and that's likely where the Flames will have to make hay tonight. Will the injection of so many players, the Flames now have a fairly strong bottom 6.
Let's get it on.