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Game 5 Preview

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The arrows are pointing in the right direction for the Flames heading into tonight, if you go for that kind of thing. Consider:

Blackhawks -

Corsi - +18, +9, +2, -9

SV% - .920, .938, .857, .808

GA - 2, 2, 4, 6

Despite mounting injuries, the Flames have been getting steadily better in the series. The Hawks, not so much.

Course, 4 games is hardly a lot of data and this evening could obliterate all those nice trends we see developing here. With 3 games remaining and the two clubs relatively even through the first 4 we should all start praying to the hockey gods because bounces, posts and officiating start to exert quite a bit of influence on the outcome. If Kipper gets suddenly hot for two games - two measly games - the Flames could come away the victors. The same goes for Iginla. Or Khabibulin and Havlat on the other side. etc.

Word is, Langkow, Bourque are Conroy are back in the line-up this evening. Good news. I doubt they'll all be 100% (I've heard rumors that Langkow is wearing a plastic wrist-guard on his injured wrist), but their presence will be welcome nonetheless.

A lot of this is remiscent of the Flames/Red Wings series a couple of seasons ago under Jim Playfair. The Flames lost the first two only to hold serve in the Dome. Hell, Regehr was injured for most of that series too.

Of course, Calgary went on to lose the next two, probably sealing Playfair's fate as head coach in the process. This year, I have more hope the Flames will be able to pull off the upset. After all, they've lead in each of the first 4 games of this series and the Hawks - while a quality team - aren't the Detroit Red Wings. And even with all the injury issues, this iteration of the Calgary Flames is probably superior to the one that got buried back in '07.