GDFD No. 72: Playing catch-up

Ryan Lambert
March 21 2010 11:44AM



Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 72nd game of the season on March 21, 2010.

No matter how well the Flames do for the remainder of the season — and let's not forget they still have a cross-country flight next week to play Boston, the Islanders and the Caps — they might not make the playoffs anyway.

Obviously they've improved considerably over the last few weeks, from a results standpoint, but no amount of improving is going to make up for what this team doesn't have, which is dangerous offensive players by the boatload.

I've watched the last two Red Wings games, games they've won or tied inside of half a second to go in either the third period or OT. Detroit, it seems, is hell-bent upon taking the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference and no amount of time is too little for them to manufacture a goalscoring opportunity that the Henrik Zetterbergs of the world can put home. Calgary simply doesn't get chances like that, and certainly doesn't have dynamic players like that.

The Red Wings are, perhaps not surprisingly, losers of just one regulation game since the end of the Olympic break. Calgary, despite going 6-2-0 in the same time period and handing those Wings their only regulation loss, is losing ground and has a much tougher schedule the rest of the way.

A win against the Wild today would be great. Hell, it's pretty much necessary at this point.

 

Who

The Calgary Flames (36-26-9 for 81 points. Ninth in the West, third in the Northwest) and the Minnesota Wild (34-31-6 for 96 points. Tied for 12 in the West, fourth in the Northwest).

When

1 p.m. Mountain time and 3 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should find out why a salad costs more than a Big Mac.

Where

Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta.

Calgary is 18-10-6 on the road this year, and beat Minnesota 5-2 in their own building two weeks ago. The Wild are 23-9-3 at home, and that's the fifth-best home record in the league.

What (to hate about the Wild)

Casey Wellman — This kid has one game of NHL experience, having come straight to Minnesota after the end of the NCAA hockey season, and already has a point from an incredible assist. Proof that signing college free agents isn't always a terrible idea just because Sutter stinks at drafting them.

Guillaume Latendresse — Why is this guy so good at scoring, particularly against Calgary? In four games with the Wild against the Flames, he has 2-2-4.

Niklas Backstrom — He hasn't played for Minnesota since March 9, and could play today. Great. Career numbers against the Flames: 2.07/.919.

Why

Because Staios will get the Flames into the playoffs! Enjoy the game and ride Steve Staios to victory in the comments section.

686dfac3780611cb7acad6ce5166c6c1
Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#1 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 12:32PM
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According to Sports Club Stats, the Flames chances of making the playoffs fell almost 10% last night and they didn't even play.

Scoreboard watching isn't a lot of fun right now.

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#2 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 12:58PM
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Apparently Toskala is to get the start.

He's been good so far, but I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop with him.

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#3 Jean Lefebvre
March 21 2010, 01:14PM
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Rough first five minutes for the visitors but the Flames survive a Minny power play and several good chances.

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#4 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 01:19PM
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Not the best start to this one. 7 minutes in, the Flames don't have a single scoring chance.

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#5 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 01:21PM
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Wow. Flames got insanely lucky during that scramble.

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#6 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 01:24PM
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Hagman and Langkow combine for the Flames first chance of the period.

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#7 Jean Lefebvre
March 21 2010, 01:28PM
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Most playoff games as a Flame? Not Jeff Shantz?

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#8 b1ackhat
March 21 2010, 01:29PM
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Matinee games are so brutal. Poor Kent, having to blog.

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#9 Jean Lefebvre
March 21 2010, 01:30PM
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Hey Kent, OF COURSE Steve Staios is on the power play.

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#10 Jean Lefebvre
March 21 2010, 01:31PM
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That's the Vesa Toskala Leafs fans remember.

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#11 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 01:31PM
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Steve Staios must read this site.

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#12 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 01:32PM
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That didn't take long.

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#13 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 01:33PM
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b1ackhat wrote:

Matinee games are so brutal. Poor Kent, having to blog.

Sunday afternoons work for me. Otherwise I'd still be asleep or doing laundry.

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#14 b1ackhat
March 21 2010, 01:39PM
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Jean Lefebvre wrote:

Hey Kent, OF COURSE Steve Staios is on the power play.

Remind me again why Oilers fans were sad to see him leave? They are welcome to having him back as far as I am concerned.

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#15 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 01:41PM
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Uh-oh.

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#16 Jean Lefebvre
March 21 2010, 01:43PM
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b1ackhat wrote:

Remind me again why Oilers fans were sad to see him leave? They are welcome to having him back as far as I am concerned.

It's just tough for Kent to make his case about power-play time allotment when the wrong decision (putting Staios on the power play) produces the right result (a goal).

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#17 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 01:43PM
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b1ackhat wrote:

Remind me again why Oilers fans were sad to see him leave? They are welcome to having him back as far as I am concerned.

I dont know any Oilers fans who were sad to see him go.

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#18 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 01:44PM
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Flames were outchanced 10-4 in that one. They're kind lucky it's only 2-1 actually.

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#19 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 01:47PM
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@Jean

It's ironic, but I don't consider it damaging to my argument. That was Staios' first goal in 87 games and it deflected off of someone in front.

Sometimes the wrong decision results in the right outcome. Like going all-in with a 2-7 in poker. Sure, you win when the flop comes up with 2-7-2, but it was still a bad bet.

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#20 b1ackhat
March 21 2010, 01:47PM
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Really? I work in Edmonton and there was an awful lot of "how can the Oilers trade the 'A' to Calgary" type crying.

They cry a lot up here, its hard to pick out specific reasons but that was one I was able to isolate.

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#21 b1ackhat
March 21 2010, 01:47PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

@Jean

It's ironic, but I don't consider it damaging to my argument. That was Staios' first goal in 87 games and it deflected off of someone in front.

Sometimes the wrong decision results in the right outcome. Like going all-in with a 2-7 in poker. Sure, you win when the flop comes up with 2-7-2, but it was still a bad bet.

Go all in with 2-7

(writes in poker crib notes)

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#22 Jean Lefebvre
March 21 2010, 01:54PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

@Jean

It's ironic, but I don't consider it damaging to my argument. That was Staios' first goal in 87 games and it deflected off of someone in front.

Sometimes the wrong decision results in the right outcome. Like going all-in with a 2-7 in poker. Sure, you win when the flop comes up with 2-7-2, but it was still a bad bet.

True enough, the point still holds and is no less valid. The trouble is that the goal increases the likelihood of the questionable strategy being perpetuated.

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#23 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 02:03PM
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@Jean. Yup, I agree there.

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#24 b1ackhat
March 21 2010, 02:05PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

@Jean. Yup, I agree there.

Enter the Rick DiPietro contract as exhibit B.

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#25 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 02:07PM
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Nice shift by Conroy's line.

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#26 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 02:08PM
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Yikes. Toskala was dreadful on that particular sequence.

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#27 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 02:12PM
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Oh crap. Langkow down for the count.

This is really bad.

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#28 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 02:17PM
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On the bright side, beauty play by Jarome and White for the goal.

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#29 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 02:37PM
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Langkow to the hospital for "precautionary measures". He can move his legs.

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#30 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 02:39PM
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Well, I'd say that's probably it for this one.

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#31 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 02:45PM
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Chances were 7-7 in that period, so a better one for Calgary. Unfortunately, the gap on the scoreboard increased anyways.

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#32 Jean Lefebvre
March 21 2010, 03:03PM
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Two-goal deficit? Big deal — the Red Wings could overcome that in 0.5 seconds.

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#33 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 03:07PM
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Bourque hasn't had his best game today.

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#34 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 03:11PM
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Well, looks like this'll be a close one at least.

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#35 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 03:13PM
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3 Flames goals, all scored by defenders.

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#36 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 03:18PM
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Flames have all the scoring chances in this period so far.

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#37 Jean Lefebvre
March 21 2010, 03:36PM
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How are those two dicey goals allowed by Toskala looking now?

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#38 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 03:39PM
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Iginla showing up at the end of the game here.

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#39 Kent Wilson
March 21 2010, 03:44PM
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Flames won the chance count in that one 7-4. Alas, it wasn't enough.

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