Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Flames storm back to stake a claim for third place in the West

The Vancouver Canucks started the game the way they needed to, as they jumped out to a quick 2 goal lead, looking every bit the team that wanted to skate into Calgary and rip two points out of their grasp.
The only problem with the strategy though was that the final forty minutes certainly turned against them. Letting penalties once again be their downfall, the Canucks surrendered to quick goals in less than a minute to give the Flames the momentum they needed to take a victory and jump ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the third place seed overall in the Western Conference.

So tight is the Northwest Division and the Western Conference as a whole, that one game can have a major domino effect on many of the other teams scrambling for a playoff ranking, or spot for this seasons Stanley Cup showdowns.

With the Flames out hitting the Canucks by a remarkable count and continuing to put pressure on them despite the Canucks early advantage, it became clear on Tuesday night that while they may still lose a few games and may very well just claw their way into the playoffs, the Flames it seems never give up.

The Canucks wasted yet another solid performance by Roberto Luongo, who must wonder at times what it will take to have his team control a lead for the duration of a game and hold off a desperation attack. Attacks that more often than not lately, seemsto end up in the opposition teams favour.

The win provided Calgary with 90 points on the season so far, one ahead of Minnesota and four ahead of the Canucks who despite the loss, still cling to a playoff spot, but barely with seventh place now in their possession. Both Nashville and Edmonton are making tracks towards the eighth place team the stumbling Colorado Avalanche who are tied with Vancouver at 86 points.

Vancouver can add some distance between themselves and the Avs with their game on Wednesday in Denver, and then they face the Wild before a pair of games again with the Flames that will round out their season.

Besides the two return matches with Vancouver at the end of season, the Flames have one other game left on the schedule, a Saturday night showdown with their old friends the Edmonton Oilers.

Considering the late season rush of the Oil towards a playoff spot, that game by Saturday could once again be one of those win and you’re in affairs, destined to provide even more emotion than your run of the mill Oilers/Flames match up.

Globe and Mail--Flames move up to third

No comments: