The Flames return home tonight with their tails between their legs following their entirely predictable three-goal collapse in Colorado and the sting of the Ryan O'Reilly debacle, and the Hockey Gods will show no mercy, as the Vancouver Canucks are waiting.
A substantial snowstorm in Calgary means that this one will be more sparsely attended than usual by the sounds of it. That or Flames fans just can't stomach any more humiliation for the time being.
The last time the Flames played the Canucks a 5-1 loss spelled the end of Leland Irving's most recent stint with the Flames, and I have little confidence that things will be different this time around following an all-around shaky performance in Denver.
The Canucks have a four-point cushion over the Minnesota Wild right now for first in the Northwest, and beat the LA Kings handily by a score of 5-2 in last night's contest. We can hope for a tired team but I don't expect that to impact the Canucks' ability to skate circles around the home team, especially if they somehow manage to get an early lead.
The one thing that is encouraging about the Flames' game heading into this contest is their continued improvement on the penalty kill, but that goes hand in hand with disciplined play, which has been lacking the past few games.
Danny Taylor will start for the Flames tonight as per the team's Twitter account:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>It's almost game time! The <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23Flames">#Flames</a> starting lineup: Taylor,Wideman, @<a href="https://twitter.com/thebutler44">thebutler44</a>, @<a href="https://twitter.com/mcammalleri13">mcammalleri13</a>, Glencross & @<a href="https://twitter.com/svenbaertschi">svenbaertschi</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/search/%23CGYVAN">#CGYVAN</a></p>— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLFlames/status/308380964516675584">March 4, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Lines and pairings have been revamped after Thursday's loss to Colorado, as Cory Sarich will sit and Brian McGrattan will make his return to the Flames lineup tonight. I know you're all just as excited about that as I am.
Anyway, here are the rest of the lines:
D. Sedin-H. Sedin-Burrows
Go Flames Go.