Pride is about the only thing on the line for the Flames at this point as they wrap up their home-and-home against the Stars tonight at the Scotia bank Saddledome. This will be the fourth and final meeting between the squads with the Stars looking for a season sweep of the Flames after defeating them 4-1 on Saturday afternoon in Dallas. The loss all but squashed the Flames playoff hopes as they now sit three points back of the three-way tie for 8th spot between the Kings, Sharks and Avalanche.
Motivation to write this preview for today’s afternoon clash between the Flames and Dallas Stars is pretty low to say the least. The disappointment of Thursdays loss to the Minnesota Wild along with the Flames current four game losing skid, where the team has lost to the bottom three teams in the West, still lingers inside of me and many Flames fans. With 6 games remaining and still only two points out of a playoff spot, the Flames still have a chance. This afternoon’s matinee kicks-off a crucial home and home series between the Flames and Stars as both teams are fighting tooth and nail to make the playoffs. The Stars have won both match-ups against the Flames this season as both games were 3-2 and both needed extra time (OT on Feb. 16th, SO on Mar. 4th).
Words can't describe how painful that was to watch. From a 2-0 lead and a 21-4 shot advantage in the first 30 minutes, to a 3-2 SO loss to the 27th place Minnesota Wild is completely embarrassing. The whole Flames organization better take a deep look in the mirror and make some tough decisions.
Ring... Ring... Pick up Jay Feaster, the Fat Lady is calling, your team just shot themselves in the foot... again.
Beep… Beep… Beep. The Flames playoff heart is still beating but with their current three game losing streak, the blood flow is slowing down.
The Flames head into Minnesota tonight to face the struggling Wild in a game where a W is a must. This will be the 6th and final meeting between the clubs this season and facing the Wild could be exactly what the Flames need to get back on the playoff track. After losing their first meeting of the season, the Flames have won the last four meetings against the Wild, outscoring them 14-7 in that process.
After a dreadful weekend where the Flames lost to the 29th and 30th place teams, netting just one of a four possible points, the Flames season lays on the line tonight as they head into Colorado. The Flames are chasing the Avalanche for the elusive 8th and final playoff spot, trailing them by a measly two points with a game in hand. This will be the fifth of six meetings between the clubs as the Flames have dominated the Avalanche, not only this season with four victories, but since early in the 2010-11 season. The Avalanche hasn’t beaten the Flames since Oct. 28th, 2010 as the Flames look for the 10th consecutive victory. This is not just an important game for these teams but also in the West as two points also separate, 3rd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th place. All six of those teams are in action tonight, so it should make an exciting night of hockey.
Whoever isn’t enjoying this latest Flames run can’t call themselves a hockey fan. Another victory last night against Phoenix gave the Flames five straight as they moved within one point of 7th and 8th place, which the Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche currently hold with 81 points apiece. The Flames have to get right back on the horse tonight as they travel up north to duel their provincial rivals for the 6th and final time this season. The Flames have been simply dominate over the Oilers the last couple of years and other than a lackluster 6-1 loss the last time the two teams met, the Flames have won 16 of the last 18 meetings. If the Flames continue to play like they have the past five, tonight’s game shouldn’t be an issue. Saying that the Oilers have nothing but pride to play for at this point and the Flames can’t look past them. The Flames could jump to 7th place in the West with a victory tonight.
It doesn’t get any closer than it is now in the Western Conference. Even with the Flames huge overtime victory against the Sharks on Tuesday, the Flames stayed in 10th place, in a three way tie for 9th place with the Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings. The Coyotes come into Calgary for the 4th and final meeting against the Flames after a big 5-4 victory over the Canucks last night in Vancouver. Since these two teams last met on Mar. 1st, the teams have once again gone in the opposite direction. At the time, Phoenix was coming off an unbelievable month of February where they went 11-0-1, while the Flames were on a 4-game losing streak. Since then, the Flames used that victory to go on their current 5-1-1 streak, while the Coyotes won just their second game in their past 8 last night in Vancouver. The two teams now sit just 3 points apart heading into this crucial four-point game.
Some of the Flames best play has come against the Sharks this season and they will look to continue that as they host the Sharks in the fourth and final meeting of the season. The Sharks hold a 2-1 series lead but every game has been decided by one goal with two games needing extra time. The Flames have had a great month of March so far with a 4-1-1 record and even with all the injuries up front, have found their groove offensively, averaging 4.5 goals per game this month. The Sharks on the other hand recorded their first victory in 6 games last night, defeating the Oilers in Edmonton, 3-2. The Flames have done a good job this month taking advantage of struggling teams as they hope to catch the Sharks on the wrong foot tonight.