Okay, well, I never really liked Vancouver anyway. Calgary's much nicer this time of year. Less Sedin twins, more lines made entirely out of enforcers. Less contending teams, too...
*glances at the standings*
Oh. Oh well, that's weird.
Bruins (28-20-7, 8th in East) at Flames (31-22-3, 8th in West)
Yes, folks, while I'd hesitate to make a statement such as, "The Calgary Flames are actually good this year," here are some things they're doing that no one really even slightly expected:
- Remaining in a playoff spot on Feb. 16th of 2015
- Being one point behind the San Jose Sharks with two games in hand.
- Um, being ahead of defending Stanley Cup Champs, the Los Angeles Kings.
- I was going to make a snarky point about their standing among Canadian teams, but the fact is that with Vancouver and Winnipeg is playoff positions (along with those jerks in our division), it's currently a pretty decent year for north of the border NHL squads. STILL, they have more points than Toronto, Ottawa, and the other Canadien team. Quebec, yeah that's it. No one really saw even THAT coming, honestly.
- Worth noting that a fair number of times since we moved to a three-point system, the "loser point" is the culprit for keeping not-so-good teams in it. The Flames spit in the general direction of this, having collected only three loser points all year. They're 10-3 if you force them to play more 60 minutes.
- Last but definitely not least, the Bruins need to win tonight and not give up an OT point to get back on a higher points-pace than Calgary. Yes ladies and gents, the Calgary Flames have more points than the Boston Bruins. I don't care how lucky they've been or what-have-you, that's just...not good.
The good things about the Flames are a little more expected, however. Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie form one of the most effective top-pairings in the league this year, with Giordano once again being a good candidate for Norris. Some of the Flames young forwards have played a little above expectations this season, such as Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau (Jiri Hudler, not a young guy but one having a pretty neat year, has loved playing on a line with those two), but that's not all that surprising. It's mainly the fact that they've avoided getting punished for a bad possession system and a (still) rather astounding lack of forwards that would be consider Top 6ers on other teams.
This all said, the Flames are going to find that hanging onto that playoff spot, without some serious deadline upgrades, is going to take a herculean effort. The Kings have started than annual down-the-stretch heat-up. The Minnesota Wild have acquired a goaltender, three months too late but it still counts. Dallas and Colorado could play themselves back into the picture. All of these teams except for Colorado have a better time swinging play towards the opposing net than the Flames, and Colorado has Semyon Varlamov (no, I don't like the guy either, but he's been a good goalie) to Calgary's Jonas Hiller.
Anyway, your probable lines:
Calgary Flames: 31-22-3
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler
Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - David Jones
Curtis Glencross - Josh Jooris - Mason Raymond
Joe Colbourne - Matt Stajan - Paul Byron
Mark Giordano - T.J. Brodie
Kris Russell - DENNIS #$%#$%#$%ING WIDEMAN
Rafa Diaz - Deryk Engelland
And In Net:
Karri Ramo (starting tonight)
"Enemy" SBNation site: Matchsticks and Gasoline
Your Boston Bruins:
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Some Dude*
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Some Dude*
Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Some Dude*
Daniel Paille - Gregory Campbell - Craig Cunningham
*-dudes are Reilly Smith, David Pastrnak, and Loui Eriksson, expect Claude to rotate them based on whatever his crystal ball says.
Zdeno Chara - Dougie Hamilton
Huey - Dewey
Torey Krug - Louie
And In Net:
Tuukka Rask (UPDATE: confirmed as the starter at 8:30)
Happy Monday, all! Let's bag a win! In case it somehow escaped your notice, Florida is only 3 points back.
UPDATE: Rask is in, and we have a surprise guest on the 2nd pairing!
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHLBruins?src=hash">#NHLBruins</a> pairs in warmups: Chara-Hamilton Bartkowski-Seidenberg Krug-Miller</p>— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLBruins/status/567498232981241856">February 17, 2015</a></blockquote>
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