Will The Flames Burn the Hawks?

Game Preview #55

Flames vs. Hawks--7:30PM MST on Sportsnet West

The Flames are currently ahead of the Stanley Cup champion 'Hawks in the standings by one point, but the Hawks hold two games in hand. This is the tightest spread I can recall in either Conference this late in the season, as a mere 11 points separates 12 teams in the playoff hunt, from the third-place Stars to the 14th-place Blues. The teams at the bottom of the standings are also the teams that, for the most part, hold games in hand.

Only the Canucks and Red Wings are pulling away at the top of the conference and only the Oilers are clearly out of it at the bottom. If you are ready to call all the playoff teams at this point, you must have a crystal ball at your disposal. The question is, now that the Flames six game winning streak has been snapped, how will they respond ?  

The 'Hawks are coming in hungry with only a 2-3-0 record over their last five games vs. the Flames' 4-0-1 record.

The Stat Rack

Flames

Rank

 

Rank

Hawks

15.7%

24th

PP%

1st

24.9%

82.0%

17th

PK%

26th

78.2%

2.87

17th

GA

15th

2.40

2.72

16th

GF

4th

3.15

48.1%

25th

FO%

19th

49.8%

28.1

3rd

SA/G

7th

28.7

30.6

15th

SF/G

7th

32.4

 

Expanded Stat Matchup

 

Number Crunch

The 'Hawks have the best Powerplay in the League, so staying out of the box will be key for the Flames.

Whose Alive in the last Five ?

Flames

B. Morrison - 2G 5A +4 in the last 5 GP

M. Giordano - 1G 3A +2 in the last 5 GP

A. Tanguay - 2G 5A +4 in the last 5 GP

'Hawks

J. Toews - 2G 6A +2 in the last 5 GP.

B. Seabrook - 0G 4A +1 in last 2 GP

T. Brouwer - 2G 3A -1 in last 5GP

 

Anticipated Roster (subject to change)

The Flames

The 'Hawks

A. Tanguay

B. Morrison

J. Iginla

T. Brouwer

J. Toews

P. Kane

C. Glencross

O. Jokinen

D. Moss

T.Kopecky

P. Sharp

M. Hossa

R. Bourque

M. Stajan

T. Jackman

B. Bickell

D. Bolland

F. Pisani

T. Kostopoulos

M. Backlund

L. Bouma

V. Stalberg

J. Dowell

J. Skille

 

 

 

 

 

 

R. Regehr

J. Bouwmeester

 

D. Kieth

B. Seabrook

 

M. Giordano

C. Sarich

 

N. Hjalmarsson

B. Campbell

 

A. Pardy

A. Babchuk

 

N. Boynton

N. Leddy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

M. Kiprusoff

H. Karlsson

 

C. Crawford

M. Turco

 

 

Anticipated Game Style

I expect a higher scoring game.

Kipper was not looking his best in the last game against the Kings but I still expect him to start. It will be his seventh start in a row if he is confirmed. Karlsson will likely be in for the following game against the Senators on February 9th. Crawford is the probable starter tonight because Turco is coming off of two weak performances in a row against the Canucks and Blue Jackets, but Crawford's last start against the Wild wasn't his best game. 

On the flip side, Kipper has had a history of not doing well against the 'Hawks, so either team could run up the score against the other. The one that does will win because I see this game being being won by the forwards and not defence. 

One on One to Watch

Jonathan Toews vs Miikka Kiprusoff

Toews is the hottest Hawk at the moment and his ability or inability to beat Kiprusoff may be the key to the game.

The Final Word from the Magic 8-ball

The 'Hawks have the edge here from almost all angles in the stat rack.

If the Flames hope to pull off a win, they must stay out of the penalty box and avoid activating the number one powerplay in the NHL. Kipper will have to elevate his performance above what we saw against the Kings in his last game. Both those things have to happen for the Flames to win.

In shaking the magic 8-ball, it says: Flames by two, shaking it again, it now says 'Hawks by 2? This thing must be broken...

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