Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 28th game of the season on Dec. 5, 2009.
Well this is a bit of a test, eh?
The San Jose Sharks are, on paper, the most dangerous team in the NHL. The top line is terrifying, the secondary scoring is.. well, it’s getting there now that Devin Steoguchi is back healthy, the defense is strong, the goaltending is stronger. They’re well-coached, well-managed and well-prepared for the onslaught of anything the Calgary Flames could throw at them.
But on the other hand, the Calgary Flames are a bit of a bogey team for them, insofar as games in San Jose go. They are, for one reason or another, rather susceptible to losing to the Flames at the Shark Tank. Remember last year when San Jose didn’t lose at home in regulation for 31 straight games over 11 months, taking the run all the way to mid-January? Remember who stopped them? It was Calgary. And in 2007-08, the Flames beat the Sharks in OT twice. So for the last four games in San Jose, Calgary’s taken home six of a possible eight points, and the Sharks have settled for four. That’s so far below their normal home record as to not be an outlier.
And hey, the Sharks are great at home again this year. Their one home regulation loss was three weeks ago to a little team from Chicago, and Flames fans know as well as anyone how dangerous that team is.
So no, tonight may not be the easiest of draws for the Flames — playing the Sharks never is — but it could be worse. They could be playing the Blackhawks at United Center.
The Calgary Flames (17-7-3 for 37 points. Tied for second in the West, first in the Northwest) and the San Jose Sharks (19-6-5 for 47 points. First in the West, first in the Pacific).
8 p.m. Mountain time and 10 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should .
HP Pavillion, San Jose, California.
Calgary is 10-2-3 on the road this year, and are 0-1 in their last one because Rene Bourque ruined the team’s chemistry. The Sharks are 8-1-3 at home, and their only home regulation loss came to the tied-with-the-Flames Blackhawks, who I personally think are the best team in the league.
What (to hate about the Sharks)
The so-called HTML line — Heatley-Thornton-Marleau. Have you seen these guys play? It’s not fair to the rest of the NHL. Thornton has 40 points, and 33 assists, from 30 games. Heatley has 19 goals and 33 points. Same stats for Marleau. That’s 45-68-113 in 30 games from these guys. Cripes.
Their organizational system — It doesn’t matter who’s coaching (five different guys, to be exact), who’s scoring, who’s defending, who’s goalkeeping. Since 2000-01, they have averaged 100.25 points per season. That’s with a 73-point season in 2002-03. This year they’re on pace to get 118. It’s really incredible.
Evgeni Nabokov — This guy. Remember at some point last year we were all talking about how he might just be a bit past it after all these years? Yeah, not so much. Stats of 2.33/.921. They’d be well below league average in goals allowed if backup Thomas Greiss hadn’t given up 14 in 286 minutes.
Because what else are you gonna do on a Saturday night? Enjoy the game and complain about the CBC’s coverage in the comments section.