March 17 2011 06:50PM
This is something I would categorize as being a fairly important contest.
Losing three games in a row is no fun. Neither is dropping from a position of semi-reasonable comfortability in a playoff all the way down to outside-looking-in.
And obviously that's why tonight's game against the horrendous Avalanche is the must-winnest game of the season.
Kind of funny, given the eight games remaining after this one, but the West is so tight this year that it's really sink-or-swim stuff every night. Sinking even a little further here would imperil everything, especially with an eminently collectable two points on the line here tonight.
There is, to be quite clear, no reason the Flames shouldn't trounce the Avs tonight, even despite this run of poor results. Losing to Phoenix, Vancouver and Phoenix again is something many teams have done this year, and to have that stretch of a schedule come at this point in the year is unfortunate but unavoidable. Consequently, picking up Ws over garbage teams like Colorado is, to put it lightly, of the utmost importance.
This is especially true given that, somehow, literally every single team in the Western Conference save for Vancouver, playoff contenders or not, have still played at least one fewer game than Calgary has. That makes this three-game skid even more worrisome and does nothing to assuage local fears that yeah, the little winning run was fun and everything but it was just leading us all on.
On top of all that worry: the big guns continue to falter. Not much to speak of against the Canucks. A no-show in the second Phoenix game. We've said all year that the team can't continue to believe that Tim Jackman and other traditional role players will keep scoring like the team has needed Olli Jokinen and Rene Bourque to do. That's no more apparent than right now. This is the time for real leaders, in the dressing room and the payroll ledger.
A win now starts to dig Calgary out of the hole in which they've quickly found themselves. Anything less than two points throws another shovelful of dirt on a quickly-lowering casket.
Fortunately, the Avalanche truly and utterly blow.