@ Minnesota Wild
Friday, Apr 3, 2009, 5:00 PM PDT
Xcel Energy Center
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Enemy Perspective: Hockey Wilderness
No need to dwell on the Wild, who by this time are well known by Flames fans and haven't changed much since the last clash (besides getting Koivu back into the line-up).
Instead, let's go good news/bad news for the pre-game this evening:
Bad news: Aucoin, Regehr and Sarich are all out, meaning the Flames new top defensive unit is Phaneuf/Leopold, making Vandermeer Pardy #2. Yikes.
Good news: Aucoin won't be playing.
Bad news: Flames have one win and eleventy-billion losses on the second night of back-to-backs this year. It's not just a hard luck sample thing either: the team has played demonstrably terrible hockey on these sorts of occasions all season.
Good news: Flames are 5-0 in their last five visits to Minnesota.
Bad news: Calgary won't have a 4th line tonight (just Nystrom) thanks to the shuffling that needed to occur to call-up Negrin and Pelech. The 4th line actually held it's own last night possession wise (unlike the top 2 lines).
Good news: More ice time for Moss et al (probably).
Bad News: Flames offense continues to stumble, especially the PP. And the Wild have one of the best PK's in the league.
Good News: The Flames technically scored - twice - on the PP the last time these teams faced. Sure, both goals were called back, but...
Let's face it - Calgary will be extremely lucky to salvage any points this evening. Not only do they stink at B2B's, but half of their top 6 defensemen are on the sidelines. Negrin and Pelech aren't NHL-level defensemen at this point of their careers and will be targeted by Lemaire with great fervor tonight. Chances are, they'll cost the club at least one goal against.
That said, it'll be interesting to see how the kids perform. Actually, observing their first NHL games may be the only reason for Flames fans to tune in...