March 31 2010 09:44AM
Here we are, game-day number 77 for the Calgary Flames as they get set to take on the Phoenix Coyotes. We all know the situation is dire for the hometown heroes, and yesterday I did up a piece examining the Magic Numbers for the teams Calgary is chasing, and the Elimination Number as it stands for Calgary. So let's set things up, shall we?
On the homefront
Calgary takes on Phoenix for the final time this season. It seems as if things will be status quo lineup-wise for the Flames. At practice on Tuesday, Calgary skated with the same line combos as they went with in Sunday's win over Washington.
Hagman – Stajan – Iginla
Bourque – Backlund – Kotalik
Dawes – Conroy – Moss
Sutter – Nystrom – Mayers
Daymond Langkow was seen Tuesday without a neck brace. He'll address the media today, so maybe we'll get a better indication as to when he may or may not return. Or maybe not.
As for Phoenix, they were unable to improve upon their 100 points last night in a 4–1 loss in Vancouver. The Coyotes played catchup most of the game, as a rough first period from Ilya Bryzgalov got things started on a sour night for the road team. We'll see if Bryz gets the start once again, or if the 'Yotes go with Jason LaBarbera in between the pipes.
Calgary sits 1-1-1 against Phoenix this season, winning the first meeting 2–1 before dropping consecutive decisions in the desert. Calgary fell 2–1 and 3–2 in a shootout.
Calgary's Elimination Number remains 4.
Behind enemy lines
Seventh place Los Angeles got back on a track with a much needed 2–0 win over Nashville Tuesday night. The win got them to 92 points, 7 up on Calgary with the same amount of games played. The Magic Number for Los Angeles moved from 4 to 3.
Sixth place Detroit also won, again. This time, it came in heart-breaking fashion over Edmonton, the final being 5–4. Detroit moved to 93 points, 8 up on Calgary with equal games played. Detroit's Magic Number to guarantee a playoff spot would also be 3 right now, only because the Flames would most likely own the tiebreak on wins in the event of a 97 point tie.
Eighth place Colorado did not play Tuesday. Instead, the Avalanche hook up with Anaheim tonight in Denver. The Avalanche sit 4 points up on Calgary with one game in hand. The rub in this game comes from the Ducks, who will not have Jonas Hiller in between the pipes. Instead, it looks like our old friend Curtis McElhinney will get the start for Anaheim. Colorado's Magic Number is currently 4.
Regardless of results Tuesday and Wednesday, it seems as if Friday's showdown between the Avs and Flames will be a crucial one.