The Flames are off tonight after their loss in Los Angeles last evening. As such, their fate is temporarily determined by the teams playing tonight. There are five games on the NHL docket this evening, three of them important for the Western Conference playoff picture.
- Dallas (58 points, 5 back of Calgary) hosts the Florida Panthers. All of a sudden Dallas needs to keep winning to stay with the pack, as both L.A. and Minnesota have leap-frogged them lately and are in danger of putting them in the rear-view mirror.
- In the first of two big ‘uns tonight: San Jose (64 points) visits the lowly Arizona Coyotes. Expect a Sharks win, know in your hearts the Sharks will win, but use voodoo or whatever to hope for Arizona.
- Elsewhere, the Vancouver Canucks (63 points) host Boston. The Bruins are a good team and love winning in Vancouver, I’m told. Immediately after this game, the Canucks jet over here to prepare for tomorrow night’s big game. I’m sure everyone in Flames-land is hoping for Boston to pummel the Canucks to soften them up for the Flames. Two Canucks losses in the next 48 hours could radically re-shape the playoff picture and put Vancouver in the hot seat, so to speak.
San Jose should win and the Vancouver game is a coin-toss, as is Dallas’ game.