April 25 2015 12:27PM
We're nearly six games into the Flames first round series with the Canucks and as usual nothing is clear or simple with the club. Calgary took a 3-1 series lead only to lay a giant egg in Vancouver, casting a small shadow of doubt on how things will play out.
The hobbled first line isn't scoring, but the goaltending and special teams have been good enough to get the Flames the lead. It remains to be seen if they can close things out without functional top unit at even strength, however.
This week we'll look at the Flames on-going roster decisions, Mikael Backlund's contract, how potential expansion to Las Vegas might effect Calgary and much more*.
*(There was a lot of questions for this mailbag, so please forgive me if I don't answer yours this time around. The volume of inquiries forced me to pare things down significantly)
April 25 2015 09:00AM
After failing to close out the series on the road on Thursday, the Calgary Flames have a second chance to close out their first round series with the Vancouver Canucks tonight. This time, it's a home date at the Saddledome, where the Flames have played much, much better than they have on the road.
The key to victory for the Flames? Desperation and execution. They were sloppy in Game 5 in Vancouver and blew their chance to close out the series, and thus are back home looking to cash in on their second chance. But they really need to play the physical brand of hockey that brought them this far, and execute the game-plan that has made the Sedins an after-thought in games in Calgary.
The Flames are sixty minutes of effective hockey away from their first trip to the second round since 2004. It would be truly frustrating for all involved if they couldn't close this series out, particularly because while they have been quite good at home, they haven't been all that good at Rogers Arena, and a return trip there probably isn't in their best interests.
The puck drops after 7pm MT on CBC and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
April 24 2015 03:00PM
"Jonas Hiller was the only reason the Flames had a chance in Game 5" is almost a correct statement. Almost, but not quite. Because while Hiller deserves all the credit in the world for trying to near-singlehandedly drag his team to the second round, there's a skater who deserves some props.
Props for this series, props for this season, and props for every season he's spent in Calgary.
Mikael Backlund has been long underrated, to put it nicely, by this city. To some extent, it's fair: he's a first round draft pick who never really found a consistent scoring touch, and at 26 years old, may not be the best centre on the team anymore.
But make no mistake: he's incredibly important to this team. He always has been. Game 5 was a tour de force, though, and not just from Hiller.
April 24 2015 01:03PM
We're five games into the series, and much as we earlier checked out the Corsi and Fenwick breakdowns for the two clubs, let's revisit the face-off numbers for the primary centers for each teams.
The big fancy table after the jump!
April 24 2015 11:00AM
Well, we're five games into the series between the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks. With that many games under our belts, we have a decently-large enough sample size to dig into the underlying numbers a bit and see how each player is doing.
I split the data into home and away, and I'm looking at both Corsi (all shot attempts: on-net, blocked and missing the net) and Fenwick (unblocked shot attempts), in part because the Flames are block machines and in part because it could be interesting. Numbers are expressed in terms of plus/minus in each category.
Beware sample sizes, though: there have been 2 home games and 3 away games, so bear that in mind when you look at the gaps.