Can Calgary actually sweep a season series against a good team?
If Calgary wins tonight, Nashville will be the only Western Conference team it has played more than once that it won’t have lost to this season. (Though both St. Louis and Dallas are still up in the air.)
Yeah, Calgary won those first three meetings, but all were by narrow margins. Taking 1-0 overtime wins and 3-2 shootout victories is all well and good, but the Preds are now rounding back into form after a troubling four-game losing streak, having taken five of six points in their last three games.
Now okay, sure, beating the Blue Jackets and losing to the Oilers in a shootout is nothing to jump for joy over, but beating Vancouver 3-0 on the road? Well, Calgary’s three visits to the coast haven’t gone nearly that well, have they?
Further, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you this, but Pekka Rinne, who starts tonight, is really good. Like maybe the best goalie in the league. Not that anyone would ever admit that. Not around Henrik Lundqvist and Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo. That dude plays for a team in Nashville. Who cares?
You get the feeling that the strong defense the Preds have built up over the years shields glaring deficiencies in its goaltenders that are exposed elsewhere (see also: Ellis, Dan). But watching that dude a dozen times a year or so as I do, you also get the feeling he’d be excellent behind even Carolina’s horrible assemblage of D.
I can confidently say that, all things being equal, the Flames’ offense would outscore the Preds’ nine games out of 10 (and certainly three out of three so far this year). But with Rinne at the back, you really never can tell.