December 11 2009 03:17PM
Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 31st game of the season on Dec. 11, 2009.
Don't really know how to say it any clearer than this: Calgary needs to win this game handily because Minnesota sucks.
Sorry to be so blunt, but it's true. They've done almost nothing well this season, especially on the road. They've only won five of their 17 games away from St. Paul, which is obviously going to kill you, but the way in which they've done it is just stunning. In those 17 road games, they've conceded 48 goals (2.82 per game), which isn't terrible but is at least fairly bad. But the goals for? Yiiiiiiikes. Just 36. That's 2.12 a night. If you round up.
And the teams they played on the road aren't exactly the iron of the National Hockey League. Starting most recently, just have a look: Colorado, Phoenix, Nashville, Colorado, Carolina, Washington, Tampa, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis, Vancouver, Edmonton, Anaheim, San Jose, L.A. and Columbus. Six of those teams are among the 10 worst defensive sides in the league. Another is out of the bottom-10 but still below league average.
And with the way Calgary's defense and goaltending have looked in the last few weeks (see also: remarkably well), how can this team come into the Saddledome and expect to do well? If more than one Minnesota shot gets past Miikka Kiprusoff tonight, I'm going to be annoyed.
The Calgary Flames (19-8-3 for 41 points. Tied for third in the West, first in the Northwest) and the Minnesota Wild (14-13-3 for 31 points. Fourteenth in the West, fifth in the Northwest).
7 p.m. Mountain time and 9:30 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should <a href="http://www.break.com/index/student-brings-typewriter-to-class.html">go digital</a>.
Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta.
Calgary is 8-5-0 at home this year, and went 3-0-0 against the Wild in Calgary last year. The Wild are 5-10-2 on the road, which nicely offsets their 9-3-1 home record.
What (to hate about the Wild)
Martin Havlat — He only has two, TWO, goals, and nine assists. He's seventh on the team in scoring behind superduperstars like Owen Nolan and Eric Belanger. He's a minus-17! It's been an absurdly bad season. (Oh I'm sorry this should have been filed under "What (to hate about the Wild if you're a Wild fan)")
Derek Boogaard — Well, his name might be fun to say, but he's a bit of what you'd call a punk. For a guy that's pushing 12 feet tall, he's not even THAT tough.
Andrew Brunette — Insofar as he leads their team in goals. Wait that can't be right. Andrew Brunette is an NHL team's best sniper? No, that's all wrong.
Because you'd love to watch a game against the Wild on Pay Per View. Enjoy the game and enjoy Tara McCool's smooth delivery in the comments section.