Flames Roll into Break
What can I say?
This team is playing great hockey. Led by superb goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff, special teams prowess, and secondary scoring, the Calgary Flames find themselves two points out of a playoff spot heading into the All Star break.
The power play has figured things out. They have potted six goals on their last 17 chances, which include four goals in their two games on the man-advantage. The power play is overshadowing the penalty kill in a big way though. They haven’t allowed a PP goal against in their last four contests going perfect on 14 opposition chances. They are consistently keeping the opposing shots to the perimeter and playing solid defence.
The 6-0 shellacking at the hands of the Minnesota Wild could have been just the wake-up call they needed. Doesn’t that seem like a century ago? It’s funny how a week can change moods so dramatically in the NHL.
I’m still cautiously optimistic about this team’s chances, but beating three of the top four teams in the conference in the span of four days and then capping it off with a smart 4-1 victory over the Blues has only instilled further confidence in me that this team might just pull this miracle off.
Secondary scoring has been a major reason this team had gone 6-1-3 in their last ten and 10-3-3 in their last 16. David Moss seems to have found his scoring touch alongside Olli Jokinen of all people. Jokinen, for his part, is contributing on a nightly basis. He may not be scoring a whole ton (1 goal in his last 14 games), but he is putting up a decent number of assists. He still sports a -15 rating, which is due in large part to his hockey IQ, which must be hovering somewhere in the nether regions of utter stupidity.
Matt Stajan has fit nicely between Hagman and Glencross. He seems to be more involved of late and that’s an improvement if nothing else. Yeah, he isn’t scoring the goals fans would like but I’m afraid we will have to live with this guy not performing up to his salary for the next four years. We can thank jolly old D. Sutter for that one.
One thing about Tim Jackman. I’m sorry I bashed you at the start of the season – you have done nothing but play over expectations this entire season.
Miikka Kiprusoff. Raise your hand if you booed last Wednesday night. Shame on you. Calgary fans, who deem to be intelligent fans, should understand the ups and downs a goalie goes through at points in his career. Kipper is a world class goaltender and the sole reason this team has been as competitive as it has been in the last two seasons. He is also the only reason this team will EVER have a shot at the post-season. Karlsson is good, but he is not ready quite yet...maybe next year, but that’s another blog.
Despite all the naysayers (“Aye”) and bandwagon jumpers (your ankles must be killing you right now) the Calgary Flames are making a serious run at the post-season. Two points out with 32 games to go and three teams to jump over.
I just hope this means Feaster doesn’t sell off the few prospects we have to acquire more old overpriced veterans. Thankfully, the Flames are short on marketable prospects.
A final question to ponder: Is it a blessing or a curse that a 6 day break comes in the middle of the Flames best run all season?
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