The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs begin today! And the Calgary Flames have survived the opening round to live another day, and for another round!
Can the Flames continue their dream season? Can they extend their miraculous run? Or will they taste the sour flavour of defeat? We asked the FlamesNation bunch to give their thoughts.
|Ryan Pike||@RyanNPike||FN managing editor; The Hockey Writers senior writer|
|Kent Wilson||@Kent_Wilson||FN founder, contributor, overlord emeritus; analytics pioneer|
|Book of Loob||@bookofloob||FN contributor, living legend; The Canafornians contributor|
|Byron Bader||@baderater||FN contributor|
|Mike Cadarette||@cadarette_M||FN contributor; AHL/prospects lover; BC resident|
|Christian Roatis||@CRoatis||FN contributor; draft lover|
|Taylor McKee||@TaylorMcKee_||FN contributor; BC resident|
RYAN P.: Ducks in 6. I’ve got a lot of faith in this group, but the Ducks are deeper, faster, and stronger. I predict a heart-breaking Flames loss at home in Game 6. But I’d love to be wrong.
KENT: Being cold and rational has gotten me nowhere so far, so screw it. Flames in 4.
BOOK O’ LOOB:
If the Flames can win even one game in Anaheim, they are winning the Stanley Cup.
BYRON: These series are officially impossible to call. This team is in “have no business being here” category and has been here since about December or so. Everything points to them not being able to keep on going but they just keep going and going. Their games against Anaheim this season went like this: 1) came back from 2 or 3 – nothing to beat them in a shootout 4-3; 2) were narrowly beat 3-2 at the Pond; 3) had the ducks on the ropes for 2 periods but had their worst 3rd period of the year, giving up 5 or 6 goals (a couple bad luck), and lost 6-3; 4) laid an egg in a 6-3 loss to the Ducks at the Pond and 5) dominated the Ducks pretty handily with a 6-3 victory at home (right after Gio went down). So each team dominated a game, each team barely won a close game and a really, really bad 3rd period by the Flames in one game is all that sets the season series apart. This is probably the best the Flames have been against Anaheim in nearly a decade. It’s not there yet, but the playing field is starting to level off.
I see it going 6 or 7 games. Winnipeg was one of the worst teams in the league at giving up the lead in the 3rd (not just in the playoffs either). The Flames were 5th best at holding the lead going into the 3rd, the Ducks were 4th. The Jets should have won at least 2 of those first 3 games if they could have held the lead. You’d hope that Anaheim wouldn’t have that same ability to come back very late in a game against a team that defends the leads better. But both teams are the comeback kings of the NHL this year. So it’s really tough to say how this is going to go. One thing I will say is there was an average of 7.6 goals per game between these two teams in the regular season. I could see this being a last goal wins in a few games for sure.
As for a prediction, for no other reason than something special is going on here, I’ll say the Flames get something like a 2-1 victory in game 6 on the back of Hiller’s best performance of the playoffs and win it.
MIKE: Once this team finds out that they can win in the Honda Center, levels of energy that haven’t been seen since the Big Bang will emanate from the Calgary Flames and will be unleashed onto the hockey world. The Ducks should fear that. However, I’m a little concerned that our “Big 3” defencemen are going to get mashed into the ice by the Tonka truck Anaheim forwards. I mean, these aren’t the little weak Canucks forwards anymore. That’s my biggest concern. With that said, no team… NO TEAM go pound for pound with the Flames in terms of relentless energy, and that will be a lot to handle for the Ducks. Flames in 6? No, Ducks in 7. Actually, no, yeah, Flames in 7.
CHRISTIAN: While the Ducks are undoubtably the better hockey team, there isn’t a group in the entire league that is a better *team* than the Calgary Flames. I think both teams will hold court at home, but winning a game 7 at the Honda Center will prove to be this season’s lone unclimbable mountain. It’s so tough to bet against this team, but with the exception of a total implosion in the net, Anaheim is just too good. Ducks in 7.
BELOCH: The Flames are in full-on Rocky Balboa mode right now. They’ve been to the meat packing plant and broke all of the Canucks’ ribs. That’s done. Now is the night before the big match. We’re all sitting alone in the dark and coming to the realization that just going the distance would, in itself, be an epic accomplishment. The Ducks just dropped the Jets in four like they were chumps. There’s no logical reason to think the Flames can win this series, but if they can drag it out to 6 or 7 games… If, a month from now, the Ducks go down in the conference finals and everyone says that it was their epic battle with the Flames that drained them… That’d be pretty damned awesome. The Flames can’t be thinking that way though. They’ve got to believe they can win to even have a chance. You know what? You can’t touch a Flame when it’s red hot! Flames in 7 baby!
TAYLOR: Well, first of all, the Flames winning in Anaheim will occur at some point right? RIGHT? I mean, there are all sorts of possibilities afforded to us if we believe hard enough. So, that being said, if the Flames sweep the games in Anaheim, they will lose the series. Somehow. But I predict the Flames get a split and win the thing in 7. Matthew Stajan Esq. for Conn Smythe..