February 14 2009 02:02PM
Despite playing some lousy hockey in the prior two games, Flames have the chance to escape this 3 game sojourn with a 5 of a possible 6 points this evening. A good measure of the Flames "success" in California was had thanks to Miikka Kiprusoff, who looked something like the Vezina winner he once was. Some other guys played well enough to rise above the team's mediocrity - Sarich, Bourque, maybe Glencross - but it's going to take a vastly superior effort on the most part if the Flames are to regain the the form that saw them kick the league around in December and January.
The Coyotes were flirting with a play-off spot for awhile there, but have recently fallen into the WC's basement thanks to losing 8 of their last 10. Phoenix has some decent youth in the system, and Shane Doan is certainly an excellent player, but there's not much else there. It wouldn't surprise me to see them finish in the bottom two of the conference come April.
A guy to watch tonight is Olli Jokinen. Mainly because there's a chance the Flames will be pursuing the Big Fin at the deadline. Not only have the Flames been connected to the former Panther a number of times in the past, but Calgary's current coach was a big fan of Jokinen during his time in Florida and the Franchise has made a bit of an effort to acquire players the coach likes (Aucoin, Bertuzzi). If PHX is selling at the deadline, there's a good chance Jokinen (who is the last year of his contract) will be available and the Flames will be the primary suitor. Watch Jokinen this evening to decide if Lombardi+ would be a worthwhile swap...