FGD: Do or Do Not

Those of you scoreboard watching no doubt know the Flames got zero help last night. The Sharks, Avalanche and Kings all won their games, pushing Calgary down to 11th in the conference heading into action today. As I mentioned on Nation Radio yesterday, the primary issue for the Flames down the stretch isn’t necessarily the points between them and 8th; it’s the amount of teams. As things stand, Calgary is just two points out of the playoff picture, but they still have at least three clubs blocking the path.

With 80 points and 10 games left, the Flames have to at least make it to 94 to have any kind of hope of skipping over their various adversaries. That means a record of 7-3-0 or 6-2-2, which is a tall order, but not impossible. The best way to keep hope alive would be to take down the wrost team in the western conference today.

The Lineup

Some new combos today as Sutter looks to change things up after the dismal performance in Edmonton.

Tanguay – Stajan – Iginla
Glencross – Jokinen – Kostopolous
Comeau – Moss – Stempniak
Desbiens – Horak – Nemisz

Hannan – Giordano
Smith – Bouwmeester
Sarich – Babchuk

Today marks the return of Lee Stempniak to the active roster. With his return, Brent has decided to push Moss back into the middle to balance things out. Kostopolous moves up to skate with Jokinen and Glencross which makes me think they may get a more "checking line" role versus Columbus today.

Jackman and Bouma are back skating but weren’t apparently placed on a particular line.

Leland Irving was returned to the AHL yesterday, so we can reasonably expect Kipper to start the rest of the way.

The Opponent

The Blue Jackets played last night in Vancouver (one thing the Flames can’t complain about is B2B’s this year. I can’t remembe the last time they had the benefit of this many tired opponents in a season), so we’ll have to go by the lines they ran versus the Canucks.

Umberger – Brassard – Nash
Prospal – Letestu – Atkinson
Dorsett – Johansen – Gillies
Russel – Boyce – Boll

J. Johnson – Wisniewski
Nikitin – A. Johnson
Lebda – Moore

Not the most intimidating of depth charts. Umberger and Nash are players to worry about and Prospal still has a few miles left in him, but that’s about it. Playing the teenaged Johansen between Dorsett and Gillies is is almost as absurd as Colton Gillies getting regular minutes at the NHL level.

The BJ’s top defense pairing is as one-way as you get when it comes to blueline duos and, yes, that’s former Flame/Oiler Aaron Johnson on Columbus’ second pairing. And apparently Brett Lebda still has a job in the NHL. Who knew.

Steve Mason played last night so Curtis Sanford is in today. Mason is the worst of the two, so that’s unfortunate from a Calgary perspective.

The Story

The goal for the Flames at this point has to be to win the rest of their games. If the playoffs is the objective, that must be their mindset for the final 10. Today represents Calgary’s best chance at two points of any contest remaining given the opponent and the situation. They have to take advantage.

Scoreboard Watching

The only other match of note today is the Phoenix Coyotes versus the Edmonton Oilers. If the Oil REALLY want to mess up the Flames playoff aspirations, they’ll take a dive against the desert dogs today.

  • LULZ! Remember earlier in the year when we were talking about who you’d rather have, Brassard or Stajan, and now both of them are first line centers!!

    Anyways after the crap fest on Friday they damn well better show up. Had they won the game on friday and if they had won this game today, they could have go a 5-4 or 6-3 the rest of the way to get in the playoffs assuming 94 points gets you in, which it should have depending on who the wins were against.

    • RexLibris

      I think on the safe side 96 points is probably a guaranteed ticket to the playoffs. Means 16 of a possible 20 points. Doesnt matter who we play from here in, we have to get 2 points, we can go 6-0-4, it doesnt matter, we need 16 points. We lose tonight, we cut our chances by 50%. It is sick to see the run we’ve had & we are still in 11th freaking place!!! Unbelievable, I think they should have been playing every game matters last Oct/Nov & then these games wouldnt of mattered so much.

  • RexLibris

    No worries Kent. The Oilers will most likely drop the Phoenix game tonight and further disappoint our equatorially-inclined brethren.

    The Oilers haven’t done all that well against Phoenix over the last few seasons and I don’t really expect much different tonight. There could be some drop off after the emotional games Friday.

    I watched a bit of the CLB VAN game last night and the Blue Jackets showed a little bit of bite. I’ll watching to see how the Flames do because I have a feeling that even a half-hearted effort that results in an undeserved win against the Blue Jackets would have fans here in an uproar.

  • RexLibris

    And this is exactly what i hope happens…lol

    First we hit you with a left, then a knee to the nutsack.
    Enjoy the Game the Oilers could care less if they win.

    The only other match of note today is the Phoenix Coyotes versus the Edmonton Oilers. If the Oil REALLY want to mess up the Flames playoff aspirations, they’ll take a dive against the desert dogs today.

    Not much worse living in Cowtown, losing to the Oilers
    of all bloody teams on Friday, then watching them toss
    a game Sunday before you work [ if thats what you call it ] Monday
    morning. Long week for you Flamers.. Payback is a b!tch huh ?

    Go CBJ ! Go Yotes !!

    • RexLibris

      Ahhh, that explains why the Oilers have sucked miserably all year and are in line for another first round pick! They were purposefully trying to help the other 28 teams in the NHL make the playoffs so as to thwart the Flames. And now, once again, all though they are the superior team, they are going to take a dive against the Coyotes.

      Well played, dear sirs, well played;)

  • RexLibris

    What I would like to know is whatever happened to Steve Mason. The dudes rookie year he put u 8 shutouts and won the Calder (I think)? How did a guy with that much upside become as bad a mess as he is now?? Is it just that the Jackets started his NHL career to early? If so, it’s not the first time (Brule, Filatov, etc.)

  • RexLibris

    Kostopolous on the second line? Who would thought the Flames found an offensive juggernaut like Kosto to play top six duties? I’m not sure I like the Flames chances for a playoff spot (totally different from my thought of last week when I said they were almost gauranteed to get in). Oh well, less than a month away from Blue Jays opening day. I do have something to look forward to!