April 06 2009 11:26AM
Welcome to the 31st Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 79th game of the season on April 6, 2009.
Calgary caught a hell of a break over the weekend. Vancouver played two weaksauce teams, Edmonton and Colorado (not that the Flames could beat either right now) and instead of getting SOME points and recapturing the division lead, they got NO points and actually fell behind the Flames on a tiebreaker.
So what this basically means is that if the Flames win the next two games, starting with tonight against the Kings and then tomorrow night against the Canucks, they win the division. Hooray! Woo hoo! *confetti* *parade*
Except once again the Flames will not have the cap space to ice a complete team (they'll probably skate 10 forwards again), and will still be relying heavily upon three rookie defensemen. Great news. Not for Calgary, of course, but someone out there (we'll assume it's most of the province of British Columbia) has to be stoked for this turn of events.
Extenuating circumstances or not, it's important to keep in mind that this REMARKABLY poor cap management is going to essentially cost the Flames a division title, and maybe even home ice in the first round. So when Calgary gets bounced by Chicago in five games come playoff time, the man upon whom we should be heaping blame is Darryl Sutter, and not Mike Keenan, Dion Phaneuf or Miikka Kiprusoff, regardless of how poorly they coach, defend or keep pucks out of the net, respectively.
Because right now, we're supporting a team that, due to cap constraints, cannot skate 18 players. And with two back-to-backs left, that's going to translate to tired legs and lots of goals against.
(Sorry guys, it's another early one due to work-related issues :( .)
The Calgary Flames (44-28-6 for 94 points. Tied for third in the West, tied for first in the Northwest) and the Los Angeles Kings (32-35-11 for 75 points. Thirteenth in the West, fourth in the Pacific).
7:30 p.m. Mountain time and 9:30 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should watch this goal by Grafite and wonder what type of clowncar Phaneuf-like defending the opponents were attempting.
Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
Calgary is 25-10-4 at home this year, but haven't played good hockey in close to three weeks. The Kings are a poor 15-20-3 on the road and haven't beaten a playoff team since March 19.
What (to hate about the Kings):
Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene — Both former Oilers, both playing fairly well for the Kings this year. The first is enough to get me to dislike them from the get-go. The second isn't helping matters very much.
Brian Boyle — He had two goals the other night, but let me tell you about the real reason I will always hate this kid. When he played his college hockey at Boston College, he was a monster against my old school, UMass Lowell. When I say a monster, I don't mean like a point a game or an important game-winning goal here or there. I mean he absolutely beat the hell out of Lowell every time he played them. If I'm remembering correctly, he scored 16-3-19 in 13 career games against Lowell. Something like that. One game he played, BC beat Lowell in overtime, 4-3. and he had ALL FOUR BC GOALS. God I hate Brian Boyle.
Jonathan Quick and Erik Ersberg — Here's the problem with these guys: they're goalies for the LA Kings, and they're both actually pretty good. This is an unwelcome departure from the last six or seven years when LA's goalies were guys along the lines of Jason LaBarbera (lol Canucks), Mathieu Garon (lol Penguins), Sean Burke (lol retirement), and Dan Cloutier (lol Quebec beer league team).
Calgary has to play them in a back-to-back — That never ends well.
Because it's the stretch run now! Enjoy the game and shout about how excited you are in the comments section.