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).
Every game is important for the Flames at this point but tonight’s contest against the Stars is pretty much their season. This will be the second of four meetings between the clubs with the Stars taking the first meeting on Feb. 16th 3-2 in overtime. That meeting sent the two teams on two separate paths. Before that February meeting, the Flames held a 3 point lead over the Stars but with a 2-3-3 stretch, the Flames now find themselves 4 points back of the Stars for the 8th and final playoff spot. The Stars have been red hot since then going 6-1-2 and are current on a six game point streak (5-0-1). Make note this game is a 4 pm start.
The Stars arrive in Montreal to meet the Habs in a Mardi Gras edition of Méchant Mardi; a night where the Habs have done well. Astonishingly, Mike Ribeiro will be playing his first game back in Montreal since being traded to Dallas for Janne Niinimaa and a pick (Andrew Conboy) back in September 2006. The Stars as a franchise have not played in Montreal in a long time - hint - Laraque scored in that game. I understand the reason for the schedule being non equal but seriously. It will be the first time the Bell Centre crowd gets to see the talented Jamie Benn among others.
The Stars are a young, fast team with good goaltending. Looking forward to a good goaltending battle of the Care...
When Kari Lehtonen limped towards the locker rooms in November, Stars fans were very concerned about what would happen to their results without him. With a very inconsistent Andrew Raycroft waiting in the wings to steal the spotlight, the Stars really needed to find a goalie that would see them through the tough period without Lehtonen.
The Stars had to give Raycroft a try for a few games but he struggled a lot and showed that he wasn’t capable of taking on the starting role successfully. This lead to a lot of fans demanding him to be replaced by Richard Bachman, who had been playing pretty well for the Texas Stars in the AHL. Bachman stole the headlines with a shu...