GDFD No. 21: This could go either way

Ryan Lambert
November 21 2009 10:32AM



Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 21st game of the season on Nov. 21, 2009.

I honestly don't know what to think about this game.

On the one hand, Los Angeles doesn't have that strong a team. Sure, they have 28 points, which is certainly more than the Flames, but they also got those points in 23 games, whereas the Flames' 26 have come in just 20 games. So there's that.

But beyond that, who could even begin to expect something from the Flames? Will they play badly? Will they play well? Will Dion get in a shouting match with anyone? You just never know with these guys. And that's the impression I've gotten from watching a few Kings games this year as well. In their last six games, they've scored five, five, one, one, five and zero. And that's been the case the whole year. They've scored four or more in 10 of their 23 games this year. They've scored two or less in 11.

I think I can say this with some amount of authority: watching a feast-or-famine hockey team isn't very fun at all.

It would appear that the key to stopping the Kings is neutralizing Anze Kopitar. No small feat. Especially for this, ahem, defense. But you wanna talk about bad defenses? Exhibit A: the Kings'. They may have scored 71 goals this year (third-most in the league in fact), but their goal differential is, get this, plus-1. They score just about 3.1 goals a game and allow 3.04. Their goals against is tied for worst in the West.

So yeah, Calgary winning certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility. Neither is winning convincingly. Unfortunately, neither is getting their teeth stomped in by a fairly mediocre team. Get used to it.

Who

The Calgary Flames (12-6-2 for 26 points. Tied for fourth in the West, second in the Northwest) and the Los Angeles Kings (13-8-2 for 28 points. Tied for third in the West, second in the Pacific).

When

2 p.m. Mountain time and 4 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should try to stay awake.

Where

Staples Center, Los Angeles, California.

Calgary is 6-1-2 on the road this year, but apparently is getting worse all the time. The Kings are 5-3-1 at home, which isn't terrible or anything.

What (to hate about the Kings)

Anze Kopitar — Man is this guy good. He's 14-18-32 scored in 23 games with the ghost of Ryan freaking Smyth on his line. It's unreal how talented he is. I hope Sutter has this guy triple-covered today or else he's gonna make everyone look quite bad.

Jack Johnson — Most of FlamesNation's readers have a different reason to hate him than I do. You have every reason to hate him because on New Year's Eve 2005, he elbowed Steve Downie in the face after an empty net goal helped Canada beat the US (although Steve Downie is a scumbag and probably deserved it). I have every reason to hate him because he was supposed to be the next great American defenseman and he is terrible at hockey. Honestly, a minus-10 so far this year? A minus-52 for his career? God I hate Jack Johnson.

They're making Calgary play at 2 p.m. — Don't get me wrong, I'd be a fan of watching hockey at any hour of the day or night, but come on. A game at 2 p.m. on a Saturday? What are we, animals? Let the Oilers play in those games, we're better than this.

Why

Because the Flames might not lose by six today. Maybe. Enjoy the game and play with passion for once in the comments section.

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Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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