Game 56 Preview: Those Dang Canucks

Hey, now Kevin Bieksa, you settle down. Don't make Sutter send one-punch Kostopolous after you. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)


According to twitter, this game is already over - and it was a runaway. Such is the life of a pessimistic Calgary Flames fan - not that I can blame anyone.

A slight argument has been ensuing over the course of the day over how we, as fans, should approach such a battle. But, I remember shortly before Christmas, nearly this same back-and-forth taking place. A lot of us had already written off the game.

What happened?

Well, Leland Irving had his best start in the NHL and the Flames played a smart game and came away with the 3-1 win. Anything can happen, really. Of course, a week later the massacre would happen - only it was in Boston.

Tonight, the injury-plagued Flames will host the Canucks with an opportunity to take another step closer to the playoffs.

I had a pal message me on twitter yesterday after I posted the Flames chances of making the playoffs. He said, what does it matter? They'll have 0% chance of winning in the first round.

Six weeks ago, I would've agreed.

However, including said win over the Canucks pre-xmas, the Flames have gone 4-1-1 against the top teams in the West (Vancouver, San Jose, Chicago, Detroit). Three of those 6 games came on the road. And, just a fun bit of knowledge to add to all of that... who was the last team to beat the Red Wings at the Joe? Your Calgary Flames. That's right.

So, let's go ahead and bump that 0% up to 5%, ok gang? ("So you're saying there's a chance?!")

Tonight's Projected Lines:

Tanguay - Jokinen - Iginla

Cammalleri - Backlund - Comeau

Bouma - Horak - Kolanos

Kostopolous - Stajan - Jackman

Bouwmeester - Butler

Giordano - Hannan

Brodie - Sarich

Kiprusoff

The Flames looked a little tired on Thursday night against Phoenix and are probably lucky to have taken a point out of that game. Now, they're back home and have had some time off to get their legs back so let's hope for a better effort.

Problem is, #GoBlairJones is now out for pretty much the season and the Flames have to call-up Jay Feaster's save-face golden-child, Roman Horak while Mikael Backlund moves up to the 2nd line. The Jones line had been used to shut down opposing teams top lines, now that role is likely assumed by Backlund and - despite his strong possession numbers - is probably above his performance-level.

Finally, the Canucks are playing well. I feel like we're going to see the Flames play the type of game that they've been using against the Sharks of late. Complete and total offensive shut-down with very little counter-attack. They're going to focus on keeping the puck out of their net. It wasn't super-effective against the Sharks but it did keep the games close.

This... is easier said than done when the Canucks come to town.

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