COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 27: Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff #34 of the Calgary Flames makes the save in front of Rick Nash #61 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during their game at Nationwide Arena on December 27, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. The Flames defeated the Blue Jackets 2-1.(Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Remember when Aaron Johnson was like the 7th or 8th defenseman here in 08-09? Well, he's the Columbus Blue Jackets' number four guy going into action today. That's pretty much all that needs to be said while discussing the depth issues of Columbus.
Tonight's is the last game of the year against the BJ's for the Flames. It's no secret the Flames have struggled against the worst team in the league, going 1-1-1-with the win coming in a shootout (what a fucking sentence that is). Really, watching this team play against teams lower in the standings then they is extremely draining-ostensibly, the Flames should be winning these games no problem; at least they've had 3/4ths of a NHL team for the majority of the season. But for whatever reason, the Flames don't really take advantage-a 15-9-3 record against teams lower in the standings then them, with 6 of those wins coming in the shootout. That's basically a 96-98 point pace extrapolated over the course of a full season-again, against the worst teams in their league. Very sad.
Columbus has settled down since the trade deadline, although I am still baffled by how the (admittably pleaseant) General Manager of the Jackets, Scott Howson, has managed to stay employed for the entire season. On trade deadline day, the rumour du jour was Rick Nash for Ryan Callahan, Chris Kreider, some Murray kid, the Rangers' 1st rounder and the man hated by all, Tim Erixon. I can only assume someone inside one of the organizations was drunk and texting Bob Mackenzie insane things, because that's an entire 2nd line and 2nd defensive pairing for a guy who is extremely overrated.
Lee Stempniak will make his return tonight, after missing more then 20 games with the nefarious "high ankle sprain". He should slot in on the third line, playing with David Moss and Blake Comeau. Miikka Kiprusoff will get the start tonight as well as the rest of the remaining games. This is the fourth time in five games the Flames are facing an opponent on the second half of a back-to-back. Talk about nice scheduling.
The Flames' loss number is down to 3.
Players To Watch
Lee Stempniak-One of Calgary's only real positive possession guys this season. Flames need him to make an impact of some sort, and quickly.
Ryan Johansen-For some reason, I always thought he was like 5'9. Boy, I was only off by like half a foot.
The Flames desperately need to even the season series tonight, because they ain't beating Vancouver more then once.