Thursday, February 15, 2007

Tedium (Colorado Pre-game #1)

Tonight marks the first of a mini-series of three straight games against the Avalanche. It could be worse - we could be the Avalanche and have to play the Canucks in between games #2 and #3.

This is the same time of year that Darryl Sutter famously used before the playoff run in 2004 to slice the season into four seven-game series in order to motivate the guys, and this three game home and home and home will have to serve a similar purpose. Seeing one team that many times in a row should echo the feel of a playoff series, and let us gauge whether the Flames are capable of sustaining that kind of pressure against the same team night after night.

I'm probably going to be more and more negative as the games progress about the logic of the entire schedule, so for now, I'm going to look on the bright side.

Special teams: Probably one of the most underrated aspects to Calgary's game at present. That ranking is slowly coming up, despite a horrid start in the fall. I was a bit shocked the other night to see that at one point in the game, we were 3-3 on the PP.

The big boys: Iggy, Tanguay, Langkow, and Conroy were once again visible on the ice. The guys on the Fan960 blame it on a lack of confidence on the road...these guys certainly swagger a fair bit when they're at home. I think they're just putting too much pressure on themselves to make the pretty play now - at least that's the way it seemed in Buffalo. No problems being fancy at home, when you have the last line change, but on the road this has been an issue. But we're at home for two more games, let's NOT think about that...

Goaltending: No way is Kipper getting chased out of the net in his own barn. That's all I'm saying.

The Avs aren't slouchy either - as with all the teams in the NW, they're still well in the race, and any wins we give them in the next week will only encourage them. Look forward to the first games Jordan Leopold will start vs Calgary, but let's not make him look good, eh?

Prediction: A 2-1 knuckle-biter to start, as both teams feel each other out. Expect it to intensify and be downright nasty by Tuesday night.

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