Flames Playoff Hopes Fading
The Calgary Flames find themselves in a precarious position heading into tonight’s game against the mismanaged Colorado Avalanche.
With two handfuls of games remaining on their schedule and 81 points to show for the 72 they have already played, the Flames realistically have to win at least seven of those remaining ten to give them 95 points and make the playoffs.
That’ll just maybe squeeze them into 8th – any hope of 7th and higher, I believe, went out the window with their latest three game slide.
So, tonight, much like the previous 20 or so games have been is a must win against an Avs team that has little if not zero life left in them after losing 21 of their last 23 games played (yikes!).
The Flames have dominated Colorado this season, for the most part, winning three of the four match-ups thus far and outscoring them 21-11 in those four games – including a 9-1 beat down on Valentine’s Day at the Pepsi Center.
With Colorado coming off a hard fought 4-2 loss to the Canucks last night, they should be a tired demoralized team ripe for the taking.
The Flames, maybe taking a page out of the Avalanche handbook, have regressed of late losing three straight games -- to albeit good teams -- but that doesn’t much matter at this point.
A shutout loss to the Coyotes, a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to the Canucks after storming out to a 2-0 lead in the first five minutes, and another loss to the Coyotes on Tuesday night. All regulation losses. Total points gained: Zilch. Nada. Zero. Bupkis.
Despite going O’fer in three games for the first time since December 21st, they were cheery on Wednesday at practice due to a surprising “new” skater. Daymond Langkow skated in full practice for the first time since suffering a serious neck injury almost a year ago. It’s uncertain when he will be able to play, but just the site of him on the ice had players excited – which is good, I guess.
The Flames have amassed some injuries of late (Morrison, Moss, and Modin) so having a veteran like Daymond back in the line-up at any stage would be a nice added bonus for this team.
Langkow is, however, not ready to play. Consequently their was someone else at practice that the Flames hadn’t seen in a while.
Alice Kotalik returned to the Flames after playing 18 games for the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat in which he picked up 19 points. Coach Sutter didn’t seem overly enthused at having Kotalik back. but at this point it’s kind of at the stage where anyone with a set of legs will do. Who knows, maybe Kotasuck will use that 105 mph slap shot to score some goals, or at the very least perform some nice hard dump ins.
After playing so well over the past two and a half months, the Flames could let it all slip away in a matter of days and all the hard work will be for not and thoughts and whispers of blowing this team to kingdom come will once again rear their ugly heads.
But, and I caution this by asking fans not to get their hopes up because hope usually ends in utter disappointment: the Flames do play Colorado once more after tonight, the Oilers twice more and the Blues a final time.
That should be five wins. Should is the key word. Two more wins and they might just pull off this miracle on Olympic Way.
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