March 31 2010 05:16PM
Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 77th game of the season on March 31, 2010.
At this point Calgary needs to basically win out. So let's have a look at the schedule.
Oh look who Calgary plays tonight. Phoenix. The team with the third-most points in the NHL. So we're off to a good start.
Look, I don't expect Calgary to make the playoffs. I almost don't even want it to happen just so it kind of scares the organization into making some much-needed changes and all that kinda fun stuff. But that doesn't mean the Flames need to lose every game, and certainly this one seems winnable.
"WHAT?" you ask. Fair point by you, but let me explain.
Phoenix has been a very, very good team this season, yes. They clinched a playoff spot, they have 47 wins, all that. But do you know how many road games they've won in regulation this month? Two of eight. Against Carolina and Tampa. Do you know how many of their wins have come in overtime or the shootout this season? A whopping 17! Do you know how many goals they've given up in their last seven games? It's 20. Do you know what their scoring margin in road games is this year? It's minus-7 (compared to plus-10 at home). Do you know what their power play is ranked? It's 28th.
Like I said, winnable.
The Calgary Flames (38-29-9 for 85 points. Ninth in the West, third in the Northwest) and the Phoenix Coyotes (47-24-6 for 100 points. Second in the West, second in the Pacific).
7:30 p.m. Mountain time and 9:30 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should order off-menu fast food.
Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
Calgary is 19-16-3 at home this year, and are somehow 6-2-0 against Pacific Division opponents in Calgary. The Coyotes are 20-14-4 on the road, but haven't won a road game against a Western Conference playoff team in regulation since Oct. 3, the first day of the season.
What (to hate about the Coyotes)
Matt Lombardi — He's the Coyotes' second-best scorer with 16-34-50. Olli Jokinen's total output in Calgary? It was 19-31-50. Great. That's great.
Lee Stempniak — Since coming to Phoenix he's done pretty alright. He's played 13 games, and has scored 12-3-15. In case you were worried that I'd made a terrible typographical error, I'll spell it out for you: that's twelve goals in thirteen games. For Lee Stempniak.
Radim Vrbata — He sure loves playing in Phoenix. He has played 153 games there and scored 51 goals, or 0.33 per game. In the other 364 games of his career, he has 78, or .21. If he'd played his entire 517-game career in Phoenix and scored at the same rate, he'd have 172 career goals instead of 129, or an extra five goals per season.
Because Staios knows there's still a glimmer of hope! Enjoy the game, and make new friends in the comments section.