5 things: Getting close

Ryan Lambert
April 23 2015 11:00AM

1. Discipline

The big focus in the series to this point has been that everyone is trying to kill everyone else. Headshots aplenty, instigators rescinded, slashes and crosschecks and coaches fined. You get the idea.

Both teams are very guilty of playing this way; for every Hamhuis there's a Ferland, and for every Bieksa there's an Engelland. Maybe — maybe — you say the Canucks were the worse actors as the series wears on, because hey they're losing and they're frustrated. Remember, most of the bad stuff the Flames did also came in the game they lost.

Read Article | 43 Comments

5 things: Danger

Ryan Lambert
April 16 2015 11:00AM

1. You got me!!!!

So the Flames made the playoffs and Flames fans immediately started giving me stick about it.

Can't say I blame 'em, of course, because I spent the whole season basically beating a dead horse about how the team isn't good — it's not, by the way — and how the club would falter. It did not falter, and fans see this as a validation that they, in rooting for the team for arbitrary reasons, were correct in their analysis ("I think they're good because I like them") while the naysayers were wrong in theirs ("I've looked at a lot of data and they're not good").

Read Article | 111 Comments

5 things: The big game(s)

Ryan Lambert
April 09 2015 09:00AM

1. This is basically it

At this point you can basically surmise that the entire 80-game season to this point comes down to tonight's game with Los Angeles.

Not actually and not all the way, of course, because the Kings could still win and then the playoff outcomes reset to being entirely dependent upon Saturday's games, but the Flames haven't played anything even resembling a game this big in years. Let alone one in the regular season.

Read Article | 83 Comments

5 things: Five left

Ryan Lambert
April 02 2015 09:00AM

1. Going their way

Well the tightness at the bottom of the Western Conference playoff race predictably held more or less steady over the last week, but the good news for Calgary is that a few of the results went their way. They are, again, ostensibly only battling Winnipeg and Los Angeles for the last playoff spots, either in the division or wild card, as it's three teams trying to fit into those two slots.

The Jets faced a fairly tough schedule this week, even as they only played one road game (at Vancouver). Hosting Montreal, Chicago, and New York isn't easy for various reasons, and that they went 1-3-0 on the week wasn't that much of a surprise. Complicating things further for them is the fact that Dustin Byfuglien is going to be suspended for more than a few of their five remaining games (only a phone hearing, though, so I'm assuming it's only three or four). That's really going to hurt their chances to win their five remaining games, only two of which actually seem winnable; those would be the last two of the season, though, at Colorado and then hosting Calgary a week from Saturday. The latter is, obviously, a four-point game.

Read Article | 63 Comments

5 things: Getting tighter

Ryan Lambert
March 26 2015 09:49AM

1. The race

So that concern the Flames should have had about the Kings having a game in hand proved legitimate. Tuesday night Los Angeles made up that game and reveled in disemboweling a very strong Rangers team on the road. That brought the Kings into a nominal tie with Calgary for eighth in the West (the Flames hold the ROW tiebreaker, and likely will through the end of the season regardless of any reasonable combination of future results).

Obviously last night's game brought the Flames back to one extra game played and they needed two Deryk Engelland goals to even lose in a shootout; Los Angeles can make up the ground and then some tonight with a win. But the problem with relying upon the Kings to not-win remaining games is that they sure don't seem likely to make your wishes come true.

Read Article | 22 Comments