April 30 2015 01:00PM
When the top line finds success, so do the rest of the Calgary Flames. Jiri Hudler, Johnny Gaudreau, and Sean Monahan are all good players, but once the three were united, they became a near-unstoppable force. You remember the March they had in the push to the playoffs: a combined 55 points over just 15 games.
And that was just the push. When they actually made the playoffs, they... completely disappeared against the Vancouver Canucks in the first round, actually.
Well, at least until Game 6, which is when they came roaring back to life, combining for four goals and 10 points. That was more like the top line we've all come to know and love.
Still, Hudreaunahan disappearing for five games - whether it was due to injury, bad matchups, or whatever the reason - was concerning. Seeing them come back out for Game 6 to take the comeback, and ultimately game, by the throat was much better.
The question is: what are they going to do against the Ducks?
April 30 2015 11:00AM
1. A tall order
The Flames made it through to the second round.
Many had not counted on Eddie Lack and, later, Ryan Miller, being quite so bad as they were. Nor did they count on the Canucks' depth forwards getting so easily devoured by the bottom-nine guys on the Flames. As has been covered extensively, the Sedins flat-out gobbled up the Stajan line (Vancouver something in the neighorhood of 71 percent possession when they were on), but everyone else in a Vancouver sweater got pushed around pretty good. It was a trend we frankly didn't see much of in any games during the regular season — Calgary winning depth battles, that is — there basically weren't any full-time Flames this season who even approached 50 percent possession. Not that you didn't know that, but it highlights how unusual the Canucks series was in terms of what we'd seen previous to this.
April 30 2015 09:00AM
After a few days off following their defeat of the Vancouver Canucks in the opening round, the Calgary Flames return to action tonight in the opening game of the second round.
Their opponent? The Pacific Division-winning Anaheim Ducks, who swept the Winnipeg Jets in the opening round. The Flames enter the second round as Western Canada's lone hope for a Stanley Cup. (If that sentence seems wildly surreal to read, just imagine how it is to write when you wrote in October that this team would only get 75 points, like I did...)
It's a stiff test for a team that's exceeded expectations since the season began.
The first installment of this series goes at 8pm MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!
April 30 2015 07:00AM
The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs begin today! And the Calgary Flames have survived the opening round to live another day, and for another round!
Can the Flames continue their dream season? Can they extend their miraculous run? Or will they taste the sour flavour of defeat? We asked the FlamesNation bunch to give their thoughts.