Flickering Flames Must Beat Ducks

DENVER, CO - MARCH 11: 40 year old Teemu Selanne comes to the Saddledome to take on youngster Jarome Iginla (age 33). Both are tied for 7th overall in the NHL scoring race. What is wrong with these guys, didn't they get the memo that NHL hockey is about youth.

Game Preview #78

This one is the icing on the cake, the cherry on top for the Flames, it is playoff elimination time if they lose. Any doubt you have should be rationally removed.

An absolute must win to keep those with a calculator happy. It is very late in the season and we have yet to see any team but Vancouver get that familiar X - Y or Z for mathematical confirmation of being in the playoffs at this point. A mere 4-6 games left in the season and still only Vancouver is confirmed to be in for the playoffs – wow. 

I am a graduate of the school of "Keeping it Real" for the playoff race so I am not on the edge of my seat about the Flames chances for the playoffs, especially given the lacklustre performance against the Oilers last game. Tired after a road trip, perhaps, but being able to pull out a win from essentially playing half a period of hockey says more about the team you played than it does about the Flames. 

The Flames should be well-rested now and we should be in for a good game. 

More of the usual game preview after the jump

In watching the last game against the Edmonton Oilers and listening to their over-exuberant announcer I could not help but wonder if the Flames were truly in the playoff race still. I decided to lurk through various Oiler game threads and sure enough Oiler fans certainly pegged the last game against them as the elimination game for the Flames.

 

Personally, I saw the California road trip as being the tipping point, which by my calculations had to have at least 4 points brought home instead of 2 and more importantly beating the Ducks in regular time would have kept them in reach.

 

Oiler fans were higher than kites for the majority of the game and rightly so, beaming that they had eliminated their southern rivals from the playoffs, "the Spoiler Oilers", "Soon we will crush them every year" (I should have got some quotes). They were up 3 goals before the Flames decided they wanted to play hockey in the last half of the third and the lesson learned is "crow is served". I know the Oilers were short players but they have a long way to go. 

 

Assuming the Flames are still in the playoff race, and you are super-optimistic if you do that, this is another ‘must win’. Simply put the Flames must win-out to even have a chance and tonight is as big a game as you will see and it is also against a hot Ducks team that has gone 8-2-0 in its last ten. 

It would be great to see the Flames mathematically in it, right to the end. That would be cool but the reality is that is also a huge long-shot at this point. One that will require special and selective losses acquired by the competition along the way. I'm going to forget about all that tonight though and just enjoy the game. 

Go Flames Go

 

The Stat Rack

Flames

Rank

 

Rank

Ducks

19.0%

7th

PP%

5th  

22.3%

81.5%

18th

PK%

21st

80.9%

2.84

20th

GA

21st

2.88

2.94

6th

GF

10th  

2.83

47.9%

24th

FO%

25th  

47.9%

 

Number Crunch

In both of the last two games the Flames have lost because of late penalties and a lethal Ducks Powerplay that has tied the game late, taken it to OT and the Ducks have won, simple as that.

Number wise these two teams are ranked within 4 slots of each other in comparison across the board. A close game should be expected.

 

Alive in the Last Five

Flames (Note: Jarome is now 5 points away from the 1000 point mark)

Jarome Iginla 6G 1A -4 in his last 3GP

Rene Bourque 3G 2A +1 in his last 5GP

Tom Kostopoulos 2G 4A +2 in his last 5GP

Mark Giordano 1G 5A – 3 in his last 5GP

 

Ducks (Note: The top Ducks are screaming hot with three players at or over 2 points per game)

Corey Perry 7G 3A +6 in his last 5GP

Ryan Getzlaf 1G 11A +8 in his last 5GP

Lubomir Visnovsky 1G 4A +6 in his last 5GP

Teemu Selanne 7G 4A  -1 in his last 5GP

 

Anticipated Roster (subject to change by game time)

The Flames

The Ducks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glencross

Backlund

Iginla

Ryan

Getzlaf

Perry

Tanguay

Jokinen

Bourque

Blake

Koivu

Selanne

Jackman

Stajan

Kotalik

Beleskey

McMillian

Winchester

Bouma

Kostopoulos

Nemisz

Ruutu

Marchant

Parros

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regehr

Bouwmeester

 

Visnovsky

Lydman

 

Giordano

Sarich

 

Fowler

Brookbank

 

Staios

Babchuk

 

Beauchemin

Sbisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kiprusoff

Karlsson

 

Emery

Hiller

 

 

Anticipated Game Style

The Flames will play strong take the lead late into the third period and then someone will take a stupid penalty in the final few minutes, a Ducks powerplay will ensue and Teemu Selanne will score the tying goal. The game will go to OT and the Ducks will win in OT.

Is that too much detail? Well that is exactly what happened in the last 2 games against the Ducks.

 

One on One

Teemu Selanne vs Jay Bouwmeester

Selanne has snuffed the Flames not once but twice and in exactly the same way. The Flames take a late penalty in the final minutes of the game while they are up a goal. The Ducks PP is activated.

Selanne scores and the game is tied and the Ducks win in OT. Both losses are extremely frustrating and both were selfish penalties by two unnamed Flames players.

Jay Bouwmeester has looked weak in the last 10 games and to be blunt I am not impressed with him. At his pay scale he has to elevate his play late in the season. I am looking for a better game from him.

 

The Magic 8-Ball

The Magic 8-ball has read too many of Hayley's down and out emo articles about the Flames and is on depression leave until next game.

: )

 

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