March 30 2011 06:27PM
It feels like I've written this same thing 10 times already, but...
This is really and truly the Flames' last stand.
The Flames' elimination number — their comibination of wins by teams ahead of them and losses of their own — currently stands at seven, which is fairly miraculous, all things considered.
But as everyone has said earlier in the day, they lose now and they're done. They'd have three games to make up three points on the Blackhawks which sounds easier than it would be.
And the thing is, Calgary couldn't possibly have gotten a worse draw tonight unless it pulled Vancouver. The Ducks are currently the textbook definition of unstoppable right now as everyone on the team seems laser-focused on scoring a million goals regardless of how many their suddenly-shaky goaltenders allow.
Teemu Selanne continues to defy Father Time himself, guaranteeing himself his first point-a-game season since 2006-07 with a five-points-and-a-hattie effort against Colorado the other night to further twist the knife in the Flames' backs. Corey Perry has emerged with an admirable, too-little-too-late Hart Trophy push. Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan continue to be complementary players that would be leading the charge if they were on any other team but the one currently containing Selanne and Perry. It's really quite astonishing.
Frankly, you have to think that given the limp performance the Flames turned in until Edmonton started chirpin' 'em from the bench on Saturday, this game is a foregone conclusion. Anaheim wins, Calgary loses, easily predicted. But the hope, obviously, is that all the trashtalk from the Oilers awoke the team that we saw in January and February, but has long been slumbering under a heavy blanket of complacency.
And let's face facts here, the Ducks are winning games, eight of their last 10 to be precise, but they're not exactly impressing doubters in doing so. In the last five games, they've allowed 17 goals (and okay sure, they've scored 20) against Colorado, Chicago, Nashville, Dallas and, of course, Calgary. It's not like the Ducks aren't vulnerable.
What'd really help, though, is if Saku Koivu asks Jarome Iginla if he's booked any tee times.