Well, this sure is fun. What Would You Do Wednesday Returns for some more fun.
Four games into this first-round and the Flames are a win away from winning a playoff round. Just as we all expected in September. Perhaps what is most remarkable about the past two victories by the Flames is just how utterly un-remarkable they were, contrary almost to the style in which Flames fans had become accustomed to victories this season. The Flames got a lead, held it, and won. Simple. The Flames have looked like a team that has been here before which is, well, not true.
In order to achieve this, these first few games have had some remarkable performances from a number of players, though some may be getting overlooked. Let’s talk about some of the Flames less-heralded performers after the jump
I believe there are a few Flames that do not need any more attention at this point. For example, the purpose of this article is not to heap yet more praise on young Michael Ferland, though his ability to become a part of the storyline is remarkable.
On Ferland’s line is Matt Stajan, who has been very solid through four games for the Flames. Stajan has played over 15 minutes in each of the first four games of this series despite that fact that during the regular season, Stajan did not have a stretch of four-straight 15 minute games. Stajan also played 15+ in the final three games of the regular season, two of which were effectively playoff games as well. Stajan has looked solid and was a team-best 12-5 in the circle in game three.
If you have read seemingly any article on this site before, you may be familiar with the fact that it could essentially double as a Mikael Backlund fanzine. Well, too bad because he is amazing and continues to be so far these playoffs. Though Sam Bennett is getting a lot of airtime these days, and for good reason, he is a child scoring playoff goals, Backlund has been a major contributor to Bennett’s success, showing great poise with the puck and outstanding vision.
Like Stajan, Backlund is averaging over 15 minutes a game and has taken 12 shots in four games. Also, Backlund’s line and Stajan’s line seem to be getting a lot of defensive zone shifts against the Sedins as well and so far both lines have done good work. Extend him immediately.
Ugh. It pains me to even mention it but Bollig did score that one time and hasn’t looked horrible I don’t think. Still rather see Drew Shore in there but that’s not a big deal. Plus Bollig has a great beard.
While we are on the topic of great beards, I have thought that David Schlemko has continued his strong play from the waning games of the regular season, looking steady in limited action in games 1-4. Schlemko is a pretty good passer and made a nice outlet to Raymond last night, which led to Raymond hitting the post.
Though Hartley clearly doesn’t trust Potter/Wotherspoon to play more than five minutes a game, Schlemko isn’t seeing regular shifts. However, Schlemko has been getting looks on the powerplay and soaked up 16 minutes of ice time in game three. Despite the ultra-low profile, Schlemko is an interesting player for the Flames who could do worse than retaining him past this season. Certainly, he appears to have been worth the waiver claim at least.
However, these are just my picks and therefore have little to no value. Who have you liked so far, beyond those that are stealing the headlines?