February 06 2010 03:32PM
Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 59th game of the season on Feb. 6, 2010.
It's Daymond Langkow's 1000th game and that's kind of a big deal. Did you know he has played more than a third of his career (374 games) in Calgary? It was a little surprising to me to realize the number was that high, but it makes sense.
Anyway, Calgary is maybe starting to cobble together a nice little run, eh? As Jean pointed out earlier in the day, these Flames might be starting to give us hope and, in turn, proving that the Phaneuf and Jokinen trades were exactly what this team needed to get it all together. Two games, with six goals for and only two against, since both apparent malcontents were shipped out of town, and the new guys are playing admirably as well. Every one that isn't named Chris Higgins has a point (assists for White, Mayers and Hagman; goals for Kotalik and Stajan). Sounds good.
But beyond that, and perhaps more importantly, the defense doesn't look completely inept any more. Now granted, these two games were against the Hurricanes and Panthers, so I'm not engraving Cory Sarich's name onto a Stanley Cup just yet, but 15.5 shots allowed per game is a good jumping-off point.
I think Flames fans not get too hopeful over two wins over bad teams or anything, especially with the way Detroit's footsteps are getting louder all the time. But even if this team doesn't make the playoffs (and unless it wins two from every three for the rest of the year, it's unlikely that it will), then at least we might have hope for next season after all.
And really, that's more than you could say a week ago.
The Calgary Flames (29-21-8 for 66 points. Tied for seventh in the West, third in the Northwest) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (24-21-11 for 59 points. Tied for seventh in the East, second in the Southeast).
5 p.m. Mountain time and 7 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should prepare for a cuteness overload.
St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida.
Calgary is 15-8-5 on the road this year, and have won three of the last four overall. The Lightning are 15-6-6 at home, and are 5-1-1 in their last seven.
What (to hate about the Lightning)
Vinny Lecavalier — I will never not hate him for that Stanley Cup final. He was just so unstoppable and it was infuriating. It is, as a consequence, making me very happy that he's not living up to this hilariously huge contract.
Antero Niittymaki — He is quietly having a very, very good season. Especially for being on such a bad team (Tampa's a minus-20 in goal differential), his stats are outstanding at 2.46/.919. And it gets worse: he's 5-0-1 in his last six starts, and allowed two goals or less in all of them. His save percentage in that run: .963. Ridiculous.
Everything — You remember 2004. I hate the Bolts. >:(
Because it's Lanks' big day. Enjoy the game and send your congrats (again) in the comments section.