Welcome to the Game Day Fire Drill, for this, Calgary’s 41st game of the season on Jan. 2, 2010.
Calgary’s riding high right now. Three game win streak!
Okay, two of those were against the Oilers, which.. well, y’know. But hey, three wins, right? Up over 50 points and Calgary’s only like the 10th team to do that this year. So yes, great success lately.
And now here come the Maple Leafs, oft-mocked as disastrously bad and comically mismanaged, but I picked them to make the playoffs in the East this year, so here goes my defense of Toronto.
They’re a very good team with very bad goaltending. Look at the stats: five players with 10 or more goals, nine players with 20 or more points, fourth in the league in even-strength goals, first in the league in shots per game, 11th in shots against. And they’re 27th in the NHL because…. wait for it…… Vesa Toskala, who has played TWENTY game this year, has a 3.72 goals-against average and a save percentage of .869. Eight sixty-nine.
Calgary can very easily win tonight. As long as the Leafs start that guy.
The Calgary Flames (23-12-5 for 51 points. Tied for fifth in the West, second in the Northwest) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (14-18-9 for 37 points. Fourteenth in the East, fifth in the Northeast).
5 p.m. Mountain time and 7 p.m. Eastern time. All other time zones should have the last decade summed up for them.
Pengrowth Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta.
Calgary is 11-7-2 on the road this year, and is 5-0-1 against Eastern-Conference opponents this season. The Leafs are 7-8-5 at home, and, I swear to God, just lost to the Oilers.
What (to hate about the Leafs)
Tomas Kaberle — He is the only defenseman in the NHL that leads his team in scoring despite having just three goals. That means he has 32 assists. And that’s a lot.
Jason Blake — He’s not a very likable person. And that’s not me saying that, that’s the rest of his teammates. Phil Kessel, for example, reportedly can’t stand him.
Brian Burke — Okay this one’s just for me (as you, being Canadian, will not care), but come on, Ryan Callahan on the US Olympic team? Over TJ freaking Oshie? Jack Johnson over Ron Hainsey? What goes on in that office?
Because it’s nice and early. Enjoy the game and let’s have a good time in the comments section.