Well here we are, after having 2 days off in a row the flames are back to the grind. Tonight we get to watch the flames play the Predators on the road. In their last 10 meetings the flames have managed 6 wins against the predators. The flames are coming off their best run of the season which has seen them garner points in 7 of the last 8 games with 6 of those being wins.
As a flames fan I certainly don't want to become too optimistic, as we have seen what that was like for Oilers fans having a great start and now winning only 7 of their last 20 meetings.
Kiprusoff will get the start in net tonight as he has a 14-4-1 record against the Preds in the last 19; look for Irving to get his first start sometime in the next 2 games.
This week Calgary brought up defenseman Brett Carson now that he has completed his conditioning stint. Roman Horak has also been called back up to play. Alex Tanguary is a game time decision (still battling the flu) so Horak may get the green light tonight. Irving was also brought up last week to take over for an injured Karlsson. This is finally Irving's time to shine, and I am hoping for big things. So far the play of Karlsson has been so/so to me and I am hoping that Irving can prove that he deserves NHL time. As a side note Karlsson is believed to be out for up to 6 weeks.
LINES! ** Just Updated after Morning Skate, Bourque out with the flu**
The lines tonight should look something like this
1 - Glencross / Jokinen / Iginla
2 - Tanguay / Morrison / Horkak
3 - Comeau / Backlund / Stempniak
4 - Kostopolos / Stajan / Jackman
1 - Hannan / Smith
2 - Bouwmeester / Butler
3 - Brodie / Carson
1 - Kiprusoff
2 - Irving
Has anyone else been impressed with the play of Blake Comeau? When he was brought in he was supposed to be some kind of spark for the slumping flames. In his first game back he played 15 minutes, threw the most hits of either team (6) was a +/- of 0 and received power play time. I think Comeau is a worthwhile experiment, with his RFA status he could be worth something to us at deadline or we can keep him moving forward seeing as he is a young guy. If he can keep up with his 24 goals and 22 assists that would put his production in line with someone like Borque for instance.
The Captain has arrived!
Iginla seems as if he is finally back to his form! Iginla was named the NHL's First Star for this past week after netting a pair of goals twice in a row. Iginla had just 7 goals and 12 points in his first 24 games, but the surging Captin now has 4 goals (9 points) within the last five games.
Iginla is known to be a slow starter so this doesn't surprise me. Even though we have heard the mob telling us "Trade him" what many people fail to realize is that he managed to end last season 6th overall with 43 goals and 43 assists for 86 points. (He was higher ranked then Ovechkin, Selanne, Richards, Towes, Tav Getzlaf, Tavares and many others)
Putting it all together.
By winning this game Calgary will keep Nashville from climbing the ranks, and tie them and the Sharks for the final playoff spot. As you very well know this is an all important 4 point game!
What does Calgary need to do to win this game? Stick to the game plan!
Recently Calgary has been playing their PK game almost perfect, and have also seen success on their powerplay. If Calgary can put in a solid 60 minute effort, keep up special teams and elevated energy they will win tonight.
Game prediction? 2-1 Calgary
For those of you wondering the picture is the brutal stick to teeth Smid receive, result? Smid looked like he was trying to find his Chiclets. I Felt pretty bad for him......
It most certainly was, Calgary couldn't afford to loose having such low self-esteem. But alas, here we are with 1 more loss. Good game, the last couple minutes were especially intense!