March 27 2012 09:21PM
When I looked at the last fifteen games of the season, I had banked on a split between the Flames and the Dallas Stars. Now with only five games remaining, that split carries a lot more negative connotations than before. There is no dispute that if Calgary was to pull out a miracle of an improbable last ditch effort to make the playoffs that last night’s win was a must. And to their credit, they got it. They also managed to score five goals, one shy of their previous cumulative five game total. They also managed to get three of those goals on the powerplay, and from players that had been in a drought at the worst possible time of the season.
So what does this win mean for the team, when it was a night where the Flames needed everything to go their way and actually got it? It could mean extending the season if this team can replicate the result at least four more times... it could mean absolutely nothing.
STANDING IN THE SUN WITH A POPSICLE...
While two points against the Stars in regulation is a big deal, grouped with regulation losses by the Kings and Avalanche, the Flames now need to bottle what they did right and forget about all the rest. there is still a lot of work to do, and they won’t get many breaks like they did last night. The next two games up are those same Kings and Avalanche, so what are they going to have to do?
The Kings may be the second lowest scoring team in the league but they are second best in goals against. Calgary cannot rely on winning the game 1-0 like Vancouver did last night, they will have to capitalize on the chances they get; especially on the PP. They also can’t afford to have Kiprusoff let in any softies like his first to Benn only 26 seconds into the game. Some teams are able to recover from mishaps like that, but let’s all be honest, lightning doesn’t strike twice very often for Calgary.
They are fortunate that Mike Cammalleri has been able to make an immediate impact on the team: four points in two games may be just the spark this offense needs to get more of the top six going. Goals finally by Jokinen and Tanguay should be an indication of that beginning, now the Flames have to hope that this has a positive infection on guys like Iginla and Glencross as well.
This March has been the worst for Iginla since the 2010 season (the first time Stajan was his full time center). While I’m not here to vilify Iginla, the types of games that these last five represent should be what get your captain up in the morning. They should be the moments that set the captain apart from every other player on the team. They should be the reason why your captain is your captain! Not to add more pressure to the burden that Iginla already bears, but there is a sense that even the fan base is growing weary of Jarome and this would be a nice way to give the fans what they all want - namely to see Iggy lead this band of misfits into the playoffs. At this point in time, I doubt there are many fans who believe or even care that the Flames are unlikely to make any noise in the post season...just get there for God’s sake. After that, well, anything is possible.
WITH A LOT OF LUCK AND A PRETTY FACE
"That being said, if the Flames win tonight, they will win 4 in a row, giving fans a hope and put them back on the bandwagon. Then they will lose their next two games in the shootout and finish on the outside because of the tiebreaker leaving them in 9th place in the West. I really hope this doesn't happen." -schevvy
I’m sure there are a number of even the most devout fans that have this exact same fear causing them undue amounts of anxiety, but would anyone really be surprised if this actually happened? Because after what we have seen this season from our *cough* ‘beloved’ Flames, no one should be surprised by anything anymore. And that includes if they actually pull this circus show off without the big top collapsing around them and the fans that show relentless faith and support.
It is going to take all kinds of luck, the planets all aligning at just the right time during game times, and even then Calgary will not be able to make any stupid costly mistakes to pull this off.
But hey, with a pretty face like this guy... who’s going to bet against them now? In all seriousness though, the luck is for the Flames is going to come if they can actually function together for sixty minutes in each of these last five games. No more, no less please. Sixty solid minutes for five more nights and they can forget about the previous five game devastation.
Calgary has trailed the opposition after the second period forty times this season. Of those forty games, they came back to win only four of them. They have proven that there is only one route to the top of the hill and they’re not very equipped for the journey. They need to find another way to get to where they need to be and that is a huge factor that works the odds against them.
There isn’t really any aspect of the game that they excel at right now. They struggle to score and struggle in preventing untimely goals. It’s part of the reason they crumble under the adversity of trailing after two periods. When they are given opportunities to bail themselves out with special teams, they are more likely to dig themselves a deeper grave. Well folks, the hole is dug and there is about enough room for only one more nail in the coffin.
LEAVE WITHOUT A TRACE?
The bottom line is right now Calgary is fighting a bunch of shadows. What that means is the Flames seem to have more issues with battling themselves than they do with the opposition they face. If they can keep it together over the next week then they may be able to still leave their mark on this season. If they fail to make something of these last five games, it won’t be the reason they miss the playoffs... again. They will merely be the exclamation point at the end of every argument every fan has as to why this team is going nowhere and why everyone should be traded or fired.
No one will account for the injuries or the ups and downs of the year; it will be as if there was no mentionable trace of yet another mediocre team. If, or even when, they miss the playoffs, Ryan Lambert may very well have the material to write the easiest installment of “Five Things” with five simple lines...
1. The Edmonton Oilers
2. The Columbus Blue Jackets
3. The Colorado Avalanche
4. The Minnesota Wild
5. The Dallas Stars
That about sums it up doesn’t it? If not, I’ll leave you with a little ode that I found here on the net. It seemed somewhat fitting and the first stanza seemed to reflect the “shadow” that surrounds this team...
My shadows running thin the other way.
My shadows becoming dim.
Another day. Another night.
Another play. Another fight.
I'm feeling tired.