Archive for the ‘Playoff Race’ Category

Am I The Only One Who’s Nervous?

Posted 06 Apr 2010 — by admin
Category Playoff Race

Tonight is the first night that the Calgary Flames face elimination, and I can’t shake the feeling that I’m not the only one with this nervous feeling in my stomach. What if they lose tonight? What if Luongo plays like a spaghetti strainer and lets in 5 goals against Colorado and they beat the Canucks? What if Calgary and Colorado win? How long can we keep this up? So many questions.

It’s obvious that Calgary has put themselves in this position with their inconsistent play this year, and now it’s down to the wire. The odds of Calgary actually winning their next 3 games and making the playoffs are slim, but until I see it on paper (or a reputable website on the net), I won’t believe it.

The Flames are hosting the San Jose Sharks as I write this, and I really hope it isn’t my last “we can still make the playoffs this year” post.  Just one at a time, boys. You can do it.

Flames win. Avalanche lose. 2 points back now.

Posted 31 Mar 2010 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames, Phoenix Coyotes, Playoff Race, Win, home
Coyotes Flames Hockey

The Calgary Flames have moved within 2 points of the Colorado Avalanche thanks to a 2-1 win against Phoenix tonight, while the Avs lost 5-2 to Anaheim. Tonight’s action sets the stage for a huge Friday game between Calgary and Colorado in Denver on Friday.

The Flames started the game slowly with a lackluster first period, but picked up speed in the 2nd period and took a 1-0 lead when Ian White’s shot bounced off Rene Bourque’s foot into the net. They played their best hockey during the last 5 minutes of the 2nd period, but couldn’t beat Coyotes’ goalie Jason LaBarbera.

The Flames added one more goal from Ales Kotalik early in the 3rd, and it turned out to be the game winner. Phoenix scored ten minutes later to make it close, but the Flames stayed ahead thanks to some awesome goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff.

Kipper was definitely the best player on the Flames tonight. He bailed them out several times, and stopped 29 of 30 shots including 13 in the 3rd period. Two other players that stood out from the crowd were 21 year old Mikael Backlund and the ever-steady Rene Bourque. Backlund notched his 3rd point in the last 2 games with the assist on Kotalik’s game-winning goal.  He was also one of the few Flames players that consistently played like he wanted the puck every time he was on the ice. In addition to scoring the opening goal, Bourque had a couple other good chances and played a responsible game. He was solid in the neutral zone, and always seemed capable of skating the puck out of his own end when the Flames needed to get it out.  The Flames could have used a bit more of that late in the game. That, or another goal…

Though Colorado has been losing more games than they have been winning lately, it didn’t appear as though the Flames were getting any help until tonight. The combination of a Calgary win and a Colorado loss now sets the teams only 2 points apart in the race for 8th place in the West. Colorado still has one game at hand over the Flames, so to say that Friday’s 2 points are important it a gross understatement. We all know that the Flames need to win every one of their final 5 games to have a hope of making the playoffs. The dream is not dead yet, and if the Flames win a few more games, the fans here may just start believing again.

Flames 1 Win Away from Home-Ice in the Playoffs

Posted 06 Apr 2009 — by admin
Category Los Angeles Kings, Northwest Division, Playoff Race, Win, home

Other than the fact that the Flames are back on a 1 game winning streak and now in sole possession of first place in the NW division, I can’t really take too much pleasure in a 4-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings tonight.

Sure, the Flames regained a bit of their scoring touch. Sure, they outshot their opponents 38-24. Sure, they won 4-1 moving them 2 points ahead of the Canucks atop the NW division. And sure… they gave themselves a chance to secure 3rd place in the West with a regulation win in Vancouver tomorrow night… but it was against the Los Angeles Kings. Dare I say it… the “lowly” Los Angeles Kings.

A smashing victory is to be expected when you play a young team that is currently tuning up their golf clubs to get ready for the next 6 months on the golf course.

If the Flames had lost tonight (like the Canucks did in Edmonton last night) I would be very concerned and would seriously consider sounding the “we’re going out in the first round, again” alarm…

…But I’m not.

Despite the fact that the Flames had 2 five-on-three powerplays and still did not score a powerplay goal, it was good to see Jarome Iginla light-it-up with his game-winning 34th goal of the season. It was also nice to see Mike Cammalleri team-up for 2 assists to get himself back on track. This is necessary heading into the post-season as it gives the Flames’ big guns some more confidence.

What was even more enjoyable as a Flames fan was to see the Flames players with smiles on their faces while they sat on the bench. They actually seemed to be having fun again while they were leading.

There has been too much seriousness in the Flames team lately and not enough confident play; not enough of what the Carolina Hurricanes have in their dressing room. In the past 10 games the Flames have been lacking the “we’re unstoppable” attitude which has caused them to lose too many games. And the Flames only have 3 more games to get their confidence back before every win counts.

Some highlights in tonight’s game included David Moss’ 20th goal of the season (way to go Mosser!!) and Jim Vandermeer’s first-ever goal as a Calgary Flame.

The Flames now head to Vancouver to take on the Canucks for the NW division title and home-ice advantage in the playoffs. A regulation win will give the Flames 1st place in the NW division for the playoffs. Puck drop is 8pm tomorrow night.

Thank You Lowly Colorado…

Posted 05 Apr 2009 — by admin
Category Northwest Division, Playoff Race, Vancouver Canucks

…For knocking off the Canucks 4-1 tonight.

I love how every sports broadcaster calls them “the lowly Colorado Avalanche” since they’re not making the playoffs. They do that to every team that is “mathematically out of the post season”. But lowly doesn’t mean they can’t stun the beloved hometown boys and *almost* shut them out… which the Avalanche almost did tonight.

Thanks to Colorado’s win tonight, Flames fans can breathe a little easier as we host Los Angeles tomorrow night. But remember that the Kings aren’t lowly. They are a dominating team (much like San Jose and Detroit) that the Flames must be ready to face. They will surely come out energized and ready to play.

After tonight’s action the Flames sit in 3rd in the West, tied for points with the Canucks, but with 1-game at hand, and a 2-win advantage over the Canucks. This should make for a good end to the season.

Flames Back in 5th After Shutout in Minnesota

Posted 04 Apr 2009 — by admin
Category Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Playoff Race

After briefly regaining 3rd place in the Western Conference with a 2-1 win in Dallas, the Calgary Flames find themselves back in 5th place after being shutout 4-0 in Minnesota last night.

Due to ‘cap space issues’ the flames iced a roster of 16 players, minus some big names. Adrian Aucoin was out of the lineup, replaced by the much-cheaper, yet still effective, Adam Pardy. Cory Sarich and Robyn Regehr, who both have undisclosed, lower-body injuries, missed the game and were replaced by Matt Pelech and John Negrin who were called up from Quad Cities and Kootenay, respectively.

During the game, the broadcasters at Sportsnet West dubbed Calgary’s defencemen the “Baby Blueliners” noting that their average age was 24. Were it not for Jim Vandermeer’s 29 years and Jordan Leopold’s 28, that total would have been much lower.

But it wasn’t really the baby blueliners that were the problem for the Flames in Minnesota. It was a lack of flow in their game and no continuity in puck movement.

Apart from the fact that Calgary could not muster a single goal in the game, they had a hard time getting past the clogged centre ice area. Their passes were not as crisp as they should be and the puck bounced around on them too much. The fact that they couldn’t beat Minnesota goaltender Niklas Backstrom kept the Flames from gaining any momentum in the game.

Calgary now finds themselves back in the bottom half of the playoff roster after having secured a playoff berth with their win in Dallas. Chicago will be heading to the post-season for the first time in 7 years also, after beating Nashville last night.

That leaves 3 spots open in the West. Columbus needs only 2 wins to secure their first-ever playoff spot, and are pretty much a shoo-in to be there. The last 2 spots will be filled by two of the following teams: Anaheim (86 pts), Nashville (85 pts), St. Louis (84 pts) or Minnesota (83 pts). Each of the last 4 teams could find themselves in the playoffs by putting together a win streak to finish the year.

Flames in 5th Heading into Dallas Tonight

Posted 02 Apr 2009 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames, Playoff Race

A Calgary Flames loss at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, combined with a Vancouver Canucks win in Minnesota and a Chicago win vs. St Louis last night drop the Flames from 3rd to 5th in the West.

The Flames struggles as of late have finally come to bite them where it hurts, causing them to lose home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Flames have 6 games remaining until the post-season, and have not yet secured a berth in the playoffs. While the chances of them missing the playoffs is slim, there is a chance if they don’t start to put together more than one win in-a-row.

Flames fans all over will agree that there’s never a bad time to go on a 10-game winning streak. How about tonight to start it?

Flames 5, Red Wings 3

Posted 23 Mar 2009 — by admin
Category Detroit Red Wings, Playoff Race, Win, home

The Calgary Flames beat the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings for the 2nd time this month with a 5-3 win.
Red Wings Flames Hockey
Mike Cammalleri scored a goal and added 2 assists as the Flames claimed their 2nd straight win against Detroit and moved ahead another 2 points in the race for the playoffs.

Dion Phaneuf, Jamie Lundmark, Curtis Glencross and Craig Conroy also scored for the Flames who took advantage of Chris Osgood’s shaky goaltending in the first 2 periods to take a 3-0 lead. After Cammalleri’s goal 5 minutes into the 2nd period, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock pulled Osgood and replaced him with Ty Conklin.

Conklin was able to keep his team in the game as the Red Wings gained ground with Pavel Datsyuk’s 30th goal of the season. After Glencross gave the Flames a 4-1 lead 5 minutes into the 3rd priod, the Red Wings pressed and managed to close the gap to 4-3.

With Conklin on the bench for an extra skater, Craig Conroy worked the puck out of his end and eventually ended up with it back on his stick with a lot of space open in front of him. He shot the puck from centre ice and sealed the 5-3 win for the Flames.

The Flames and the Red Wings split their 4-game season series equally with identical 2-1-1 records. Detroit took both of the first games (5-2 and 4-3 in OT). Calgary won the final 2 games (6-5 Shootout, 5-3).

Calgary’s next game will be on the road in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Playoff Race: What’s The Difference?

Posted 16 Mar 2009 — by admin
Category Flames, Northwest Division, Playoff Race

What’s the difference between 5 wins, anyway?

The way the standings sit right now, for the Flames, the difference between 5 wins means missing the playoffs or winning the Northwest Division title.

If that doesn’t seem right, allow me to explain. The only team that has secured a playoff spot as of today is Detroit. The Red Wings got their 101st point (and 9th consecutive 100+ point season) with their win in Columbus last night. Mathematically, the 9th Place team (Nashville) cannot catch Detroit, even if they won every single one of their last 13 games to finish their season.

The Flames, with 86 points would need 7 more wins to reach the 100 point plateau and secure a playoff berth. A combination of Flames wins or Nashville losses would make that number decrease.

The Vancouver Canucks beat Colorado last night, moving them to within 5 points of the Flames for the lead atop the Northwest Division. To guarantee 1st place in the NW, and secure 3rd place in the West heading into the playoffs, Calgary would need 12 of 13 wins to finish the season. Again, a combination of Flames wins and Canuck losses would achieve the same result.

But it’s interesting to see how things shape up each year. After a 7-game, make-or-break road trip and 13 games remaining in the season, the difference between missing the playoffs and being top in the NW is 5 wins. Ten points.

Since the probability of the 7th-9th place teams winning all of their next 12-13 games is pretty slim, the realistic numbers look a bit different. Realistically the Flames need about 5 more wins to secure a playoff spot, and about 8 wins to finish in 1st in the NW division.

Oh what a difference a road-trip win in Toronto and Atlanta would have made!