Will the Stars Fall to the Flames?

Game Preview #60

Stars vs. Flames--7:30 PM MST on TSN 

Once again the Flames meet a team that is going in the opposite direction in the standings. The Stars have been falling lately with a 2-7-1 record in their last ten games to the Flames 7-1-2.  The Stars are also coming off a loss against the Oilers last night.

 

Brad Richards did not make the road-trip to Canada after sustaining an injury in a February 13th game against the Blue Jackets. The Stars have been a surprise team for me this year. I did not pick them in the pre-season to be in the playoffs for a variety of reasons. Recently they have gone on a skid that is rapidly bringing them down to earth.

In contrast, the Flames are coming off of a dominating win against the Avalanche and are playing some of the best 5-on-5 hockey in the NHL right now,  with complete games and full team efforts. The Flames have to win these games now; all of them. They do not hold games in hand and every game is a must win for them if they want to make the playoffs.

The Stat Rack

Flames

Rank

 

Rank

Avalanche

16.6%

22nd  

PP%

9th  

19.2%

81.3%

18th

PK%

25th

79.0%

2.85

18th

GA

16th

2.77

2.88

10th

GF

14th

2.72

48.4%

24th

FO%

13th   

50.5%

 

Number Crunch

A little caution on the Stars’ numbers, as they are a inflated as a result of their strong early season. Recently they have dropped down. A powerplay unit lacking Brad Richards is a factor to consider.  The number to consider for the Flames that really illustrates their success in the last six weeks is their 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio (1.09), which has slowly and steadily climbed into the top ten with an 8th overall ranking.

 

Alive in the Last Five 

Flames

There are too many Flames to list at this point.

There are 8 Flames players operating at a point per game pace or higher over the last five games.

Olli Jokinen is actually going at a pace of two points per game over his past five games (3G, 7A), and Curtis Glencross is right behind him with 6G, 3A.

Stars

Brad Richards  4G,1A,  -2 (not expected to play)

Jamie Benn had 1G, 5A, -2 in his last five games played before succumbing to injury. 

 

Anticipated Roster (subject to change by game time)

 

The Flames

The Avalanche

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tanguay

Morrison

Iginla

Morrow

Ribeiro

Eriksson

Glencross

Jokinen

Moss

Neal

Williams

Vincour

Bourque

Stajan

Hagman

Ott

Wandell

Langenbrunner

Jackman

Backlund

Kostopoulos

Sutherby

Gagnon

Petersen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regehr

Bouwmeester

 

Fistric

Robidas

 

Giordano

Sarich

 

Skrastins

Niskanen

 

Staios

Babchuk

 

Woywitka

Daley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kiprusoff

Karlsson

 

Lehtonen

Raycroft

 

Anticipated Game Style

The Stars will likely have something to prove after their loss to the Oilers. How they respond without Richards will be interesting. The Flames have shown a pattern of hardworking even strength hockey. I expect them to keep it up.

One on One

Loui Eriksson vs Curtis Glencross

I expect the Glencross-Jokinen-Moss line to line up against the Stars' top line, but who knows, B Sutter keeps me guessing every game and is never consistent. Glencross has to maintain his composure and effectively shut his opposition down. Eriksson is skilled and there is a risk that Glencross may become over-confident on the ice because of his streak. Eriksson will exploit open ice if given a chance. 

The Magic 8-Ball

Again this is a game between two teams that appear to be going in opposite directions at the moment, but I never count a team out. 

Falling Stars or Rising Flames, what you see depends on whether you are looking up or down in the standings.  

 

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