Last time out was a nice little game for Calgary, which scored five goals in the second half of the game. So why not do it all again before doing it all again again on Thursday?
I’m writing this well in advance of tonight’s 6 p.m., so I don’t know what lines or anything look like yet, but you have to imagine that this game will take on a fair bit of intensity, given that it’s the last one of the preseason.
This is the game in which guys will make their case for staying with the big club, and now there are more spots open than we would have imagined just three days ago. In addition to the injuries to Stajan, Stone and Langkow, Calgary also lost Kotalik and Moss for "indefinite" amounts of time on Friday night, so this game is the closest thing to a final dress rehearsal the kids are going to have.
Guys like Brett Sutter and Stefan Meyer, who seemed on the outside looking in to make the roster when camp opened, now appear primed for a spot on Thursday. And all they have to do tonight is not play too terribly and/or get injured to pretty much guarantee themselves a couple games’ worth of NHL checks.
But the injury problems haven’t cleared the way for one player to get the NHL roster spot many would argue that he deserves. TJ Brodie gets his last chance tonight to show Brent and Darryl Sutter that he belongs with the big club and a guy like Steve Staios doesn’t (well, the latter is certainly true regardless of what Brodie does tonight, but you see my point.) Gotta figure he needs at least another goal and a strong defensive effort to make a big enough impression, eh?
The game will also give us another look at what might be the top line come this time next week: Backlund between Tanguay and Iginla. It worked wonderfully once it got its feet moving on Saturday, combining for two goals and four assists, though that was against the Oilers’ defense and Nikolai Khabibulin, so it may be faint praise.
The regular season is now just one game and four days away. Let’s just hope nothing happens to Miikka or Jarome.