February 20 2011 03:42PM
Even though it's not, I'm gonna treat this one like any other game, because that's how the Flames need to approach it.
Montreal is a good team. They're not one that should be taken lightly. Pretty good group of forwards including maybe one of the best two-way forwards in the league in Tomas Plekanec. I love their top line of him, Gionta and Cammalleri. I think it's great. But their depth is decent as well. Solid team defense, though they don't have more than a guy or MAYBE two that jumps out as a difference-maker. Carey Price, too, is becoming one of the best goaltenders in the NHL.
However, they're a solid team in a fairly terrible division, and occasional mastery of the Bruins aside, they don't do much against strong teams — as Calgary has been lately — that makes you think they're going to be able to come in an dictate anything much.
The Flames have been playing too well lately across all their lines for a team like Montreal to be particularly worrying, I think. They're a bit banged up at the back to boot, so introducing a kid like Brendon Nash or even a 13th forward in lieu of Hal Gill, who might not be good to go, certainly won't hurt Calgary's chances today.
Not that any of the above really matters. Whole game's a crapshoot. You can't play outside in frickin' Calgary in the middle of February without basically saying, "Yes, we're going to let weather conditions dictate everything."
Frankly, I hate that this game is happening. To echo Steinberg's sentiments from earlier, let's just get it over with.