Well, the Flames find themselves in a skid and facing the two toughest Western Conference opponents in rapid succession. The Sharks are once again running away from the pack during the regular season, despite some definite depth issues up front. That's what happens when you spend money on difference makers and they all deliver I guess. It doesn't matter as much what the bottom six does when the top six spends most nights slapping around the bag guys.
Keys to victory, should the Flames actually have that in mind, will be for the Flames depth players to do as much damage as possible and to stay out of the penalty box. Oh...and Kipper standing on his head, I guess.
Stuff to look for:
- Moss is out with an injury and Eric Nystrom is getting a bit more ice time as a result. That's not really a good thing. Nystrom was -3 last night in Anaheim and was underwater in terms of possession. The SNET crew noted that Nystrom wants to be a top 6 forward in the NHL, but as Bob noted in the games comment thread, that's rather unlikely. In truth, Nystrom is a basically a replacement level player and a 4th liner on a good team.
- The line combos that were run out by Sutter last night probably aren't going to cut it tonight, especially if he plans on Iginla facing Thornton. Conroy/Glencross are pretty good players, but I can't see them doing much against probably the most potent first line in hockey.
- It'll be interesting to see if Jokinen sticks on the point for the PP. It seemed to work by my eye, but the lack of tangible results may deter Sutter from pursuing that strategy any further.