Believe it or not…
It’s true. It’s really true. Calgary is eighth in the West as of right this second, and the really amazing thing is that any win tonight outside of a shootout would bump the team’s goal differential to at least an even rating.
It’s really been a remarkable run the Flames have been on this last few weeks, going 8-1-1, getting points from 14 of their last 15 games. I’m sure there’s an advanced statistical reasoning behind this abrupt and somewhat unwelcome turnaround (still with that, yes), but I don’t understand it, and I’m not particularly picky.
Like I say, the winning remains somewhat troublesome for the long-term, but right now, the Flames are playing some attractive hockey and who am I to complain overall? But I also wouldn’t be shocked to see Anaheim put a damper on this run with a W tonight, just because I think they’re a team rounding into form (they’re 7-3-0 in the last 10) and for all Calgary’s winning lately, they haven’t exactly been pouring goals into the net. Further complicating matters is the most underrated goaltender in the league, Jonas Hiller. If he played for an Eastern Conference team, the hockey would would be having a legitimate conversation about whether he’s the best goalie on the planet.
Plus, the Ducks pack some offensive punch, especially since Ryan Getzlaf returned to the lineup. As with Hiller, I think that if the Anaheim top line of Getz, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan played together in, say, Toronto or even Atlanta, the hockey media would be falling all over itself to declare them the best troika of forwards anywhere in the world. They are legitimately that good, capable of grabbing the game by the scruff of its neck and doing whatever they please to opposing defenses.
Worse, the Ducks seem to give Calgary fits. Even when the Flames pull one out against them, you more often feel as though they just scraped through it.
The good news is that win or lose, Calgary is still in eighth. Against all logic or probability.