Congratulations to Craig Conroy and all that, but there’s a game to play.
The Colorado Avalanche are in town and it can only mean one of two things, at least over the last two years or so: a frustrating loss or a baffling win.
These are not teams that typically play watchable hockey against each other, and so it will be interesting to see what the new season holds, given that both teams are more or less the same as they were last year. Calgary has had its run of good hockey continue of late, even despite the dismal third period and overtime against Edmonton the other night. Meanwhile, Colorado has lost three straight and is starting Petr Budaj, who is, for lack of a better term, terrible.
And yet there are a number of strange factors headed into this one.
First, Craig Conroy is, obviously, playing his 1,000th game, so there will be some kind of ceremony that takes more than a few minutes. These types of things are all well and good, and Connie’s clearly earned all the praise he’s going to get tonight, and more. But they also seem to take the legs out from under the home team, more often than not. Both Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow celebrated a similar milestone last season and I don’t recall the Flames being especially good in those, at least to start. Consequently, it will be interesting to see how Calgary fares in the opening minutes.
Plus, Henrik Karlsson gets the start tonight instead of Miikka Kiprusoff, which adds another wrinkle. The big Swede looked good in the one appearance of his NHL career, but also wasn’t asked to do much against Columbus exactly one week ago. This is the first team with some semblance of NHL-level forward depth outside of one or two players, so how he fares will not only go a long way toward contributing to a win here tonight, but also to seeing what Darryl Sutter imported.
And because this is the first of six games this season between the two teams, it’s important to note that Calgary dropped the first four meetings last year. All of them were by a score of 3-2. So perhaps the key is to score more than twice. With Budaj in net, that shouldn’t be especially hard.
Oh, and no Staios tonight. So that’s great news!