The Blues are in strange territory right now. No, not Alberta, but rather riding a 2-game winning streak on the road. But before we get too cocky about that turn of events, both of those wins were of the thinnest of margins: Shootouts. While I'm glad we can win those now (after so many SO loses earlier in the season), I'd really much rather not need those to win. Let's not call it so close, eh?
Meanwhile, the Calgary Flames have pretty much staked their entire season on making the playoffs. Their GM has practically guaranteed it. As Steve Dangle puts it in his trade deadline video about Calgary, there is no plan B for the Flames. Considering the fight for that last spot, it's far from a sure thing. And the Flames record in the last 10 games, 4-1-5, is relying pretty heavily on the charity point to get them there.
For both teams, then, it could be said that they are
The Enemy: These are the same Calgary Flames that have lingered around the playoff bubble for years now. Despite a change of GMs, and one time flirting with the idea of "blowing up the team" for a rebuild, not much has really changed. The core is still there: Jarome Iginla once again leads in goals (23) and is second on the team in overall points (48). The top spot in points is Olli Jokinen (19G /31A), who is having a remarkable year. Alex Tanguay (36 pts) and Curtis Glencross (33 pts) are next, and rounding out the top 5 is old friend Lee Stempniak (12G/ 12A). The goaltending is headed by the old workhorse Miikka Kiprusoff. He has started 52 of the 62 games the Flames have played. Despite the heavy workload, he is also putting up some big numbers for the year: 2.34 GAA and .920 SV%.
Not that it means much, but there could be some foreshadowing here. The Blues' farm team defeated the Calgary farm team (the Abbotsford Heat) 4-3 in the shootout last night.
Final Verse: Keeping with west Canada road swings, it is a late start folks. The puck drops at 8PM St Louis time. The broadcasts are on your usual outlets: FoxSports Midwest for TV, and the mighty KMOX for the radio call. Until then, this is your pregame warmup. Gather here, talk more about the Bishop trade, talk about everything else that went down today, and mull over Olli Jokinen's solution for busting a slump:
Olli Jokinen and The Big Mac Meal - Feb 3, 2012 (HD) (via HockeyWebCaster)