It’s finally here!
The 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs begin for the Calgary Flames tonight when they host the Dallas Stars. To commemorate such a momentous occasion, we’ve convened our roundtable to discuss our hopes and fears for the next two weeks of Flames playoff hockey.
What makes you confident that the Flames can beat Dallas in Round One?
Mike: The top line. It’s been dynamite all season long and has gotten even better down the stretch as the games have gotten tougher. For all the narratives that have been spun in the past about Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk disappearing in the playoffs, they’re the last two players I’m worried about heading into this series. I think they’ll put on a show.
Paige: The electricity of the top line and the all-star calibre goaltending of Jacob Markstrom. The pieces that are clicking for the Flames are much more impactful than they have been in previous seasons.
Ryan: Their scoring depth. Past incarnations of the team had one line, and often just one or two players, that moved the needle offensively. This year’s edition is much, much deeper.
Shane: The Flames have been playing the same style of hockey since October, that coupled with the level of excellence their top line elevated themselves to makes me optimistic about being able to win this first round.
What makes you nervous about the Flames against Dallas in Round One?
Mike: A few small things. Can Tyler Toffoli and Calle Jarnkrok start scoring more at five-on-five? Is Mikael Backlund up to the task of shutting down the Robertson–Pavelski line? Can the Zadorov–Gudbranson pairing avoid making costly mistakes with the puck in the defensive zone? Will the Lucic–Lewis–Ritchie line be able to drive possession against the bottom of the Stars’ rotation?
Ultimately, I’m not too worried about the Stars. I don’t think they can hold a candle to the Flames in a lot of aspects of the game. What I am a little nervous about is the Flames being their best selves. We’ve seen this team roll four dangerous lines and three rock-solid pairings this season, but we haven’t always seen it. This is where we need to.
Paige: Offence running dry. You can’t win games without goals and some of the Flames’ top production has had problems in the past with playoff scoring. This has left room for players down the lineup to have big individual playoff performances which isn’t a bad thing, but not enough to win a cup.
I also worry some of the Stars’ best players will elevate their game and catch the Flames on their heels. This isn’t a team they can afford to take lightly.
Ryan: The Flames’ special teams weren’t great in April, particularly later in the month. The power play was uninspired and the penalty kill found ways to give up goals at tough times. Can they bounce back when the games matter most?
Shane: Jake Oettinger has some stealing potential, that coupled with the Stars amazing top line of Robertson, Hintz, and Pavelski breed some pessimism into everything. It’s going to be an uphill task for Dallas to pull an upset but it’s not impossible.
What’s your predicted Round One series outcome and why?
Mike: Flames in six. I think they’ll split the first two games in Calgary, win both the next two in Dallas, and drop Game 5 in overtime before winning the series on the road. I think the Flames just have way too much firepower for the Stars to handle.
I’ll say this. If the Flames win this series, I don’t think they lose another one this year.
Paige: Flames in six. I don’t think it’ll go to seven but I find it hard to believe the Flames will pull off a sweep against this Stars team. They’ll have some growing pains to go through in a playoff structure but I think they’ll find a way through the first round.
Ryan: Flames in five. The Stars have a great top line, but their scoring depth just isn’t there and I think in a strength against strength match-up, the Flames can out-gun Dallas’ best players.
Shane: I have the Flames winning in six games, I think they are overall the better structured team and have been winning different styles of games all year. I think Oettinger steals one game for them and the Stars top line steals another.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with our writers? Let us know in the comments!
Do you think you know who will take home hockey’s ultimate prize? Do you think you can put together the ultimate playoff bracket? Sign up for a FREE ACCOUNT for the Daily Faceoff Playoff Bracket Challenge presented by PointsBet Canada to secure your spot for a chance at prices and glory! Sign up here.
- The Flames will play the Dallas Stars in the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs
- The Flames’ individual breakout seasons are (mostly) sustainable
- LeBrun: surveyed NHL execs say Flames are Canada’s best Stanley Cup hope