January 28 2010 06:07PM
Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 54th game of the season on Jan. 28, 2010.
Another game, another loss. This is a fundamentally broken team.
Everything was going along swimmingly last night, with Calgary leading 3-1 close to two-thirds of the way through the game and doing so comfortably. They scored two power play goals and everything. It was like a whole new Flames squad!
But then they gave up that stupid, fluky goal to James Neal inside of 30 seconds to go in the second period and their brains exploded. They spent the entire third period playing like the Flames of the previous seven games or so and ended up losing in a shootout, which I thought was better than they deserved, actually, but then I'm a bit of a taskmaster.
So now it's a game with the Coyotes who, while not lighting the world on fire at 5-4-1 in their last 10, look like worldbeaters compared to the Flames' 1-7-2. Plus they don't have problems scoring goals like the Flames do, and they in fact have a knack for scoring goals at important moments (unlike a certain Calgary-based team I could mention). If their goaltending and defense hold up for 60 minutes, which isn't always a guarantee, then they should traipse through this game with little to no effort and extend Calgary's misery at least until Saturday.
This team has surprised me in so many terrible ways lately that I can't imagine them winning tonight. Or ever again for that matter, which I guess is why I feel oddly optimistic that this is going to at least be not-embarrassing. And that's probably a step in the right direction, eh?
The Calgary Flames (26-20-7 for 59 points. Tied for eighth in the West, third in the Northwest) and the Phoenix Coyotes (30-18-5 for 65 points. Fifth in the West, second in the Pacific).
7 p.m. Mountain time and 9 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should attack a plane from the sea.
Jobing.com Arena, Glendale, Arizona.
Calgary is 14-8-4 on the road this year, and are now on their longest losing streak in 10 years. The Coyotes are 19-8-2 at home, and have performed admirably in their last four home games, going 3-1-0.
What (to hate about the Coyotes)
Shane Doan — One of the league's least-valued superstars has been just ridiculous lately. He has three goals and seven assists in his last five games.
Matthew Lombardi — He's Phoenix's second-leading scorer with 34 points in 49 games. Only Jarome Iginla and Rene Bourque have more points than that and most of the Flames have played an extra four points. Boy that Olli Jokinen trade just looks better every single day.
Dave Tippett — This latest stretch for his Phoenix Coyotes hasn't been an easy one. San Jose, New Jersey, Minnesota (not so much on that), Buffalo, Nashville, Washington, Detroit. And he still has them above .500 in those games at 4-3-0. That's not bad at all against that kind of schedule. Especially when they have a cupcake team tonight.
Because you wanna head into the Edmonton game with a nine-game losing streak. Enjoy the game and circle Saturday on the calendar in the comments section.