Express Yourself

About anything and everything on the planet

January 29, 2011

Calgary Flames And The Road To The Cup

The Calgary Flames have run into a few roadblocks in a few recent games but they won a very important contest last night. The game against the Colorado Avalanche, one of the teams that is knocking on Calgary’s door in the playoff race, was a must win. Of course, every game around this time of year is a must win but it is especially important that the Flames beat the teams sitting just under them. Being in that undesirable eighth and final playoff spot can be quite a burden to bare. Finishing above that mark, preferably as the leader of the Northwest Division is ideal.

At this time of year when division rivals are playing each other almost exclusively, wins in regulation time are key. After having a less than stellar road trip, the Flames really needed to come home and get some points. Of course, by closing down Colorado’s offense after the Flames took the lead, they were able to keep Avalanche shots limited and defended the lead well enough for them to win in regulation time.

Last season the Flames played the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs. They lost to Detroit but the series, I thought, was really up for grabs for the most part. I thought that there was some motivation lacking in some of the games against the Wings and Flames and that if the Flames had come across Detroit later on in the playoffs, Calgary would have won. If Calgary can finish first in the Northwest, they will set themselves up for a better playoff run.

Another thing that is different about the Flames this year is that Mike Keenan is behind the bench. Intensity was something else that I thought the Flames lacked on the bench during the last playoff run. Going from Darryl Sutter to Jim Playfair has got to be a drastic change. Not to say that Playfair is not a good coach, it just seemed like the Flames needed a little bit more in the intensity department behind the bench. If nothing else, Keenan is intense and will apply the pressure when pressure is needed. That could be the piece of the puzzle that makes the most difference this year.

Maintaining the dominant, physical defensive play that the Flames are known for has got to be very difficult. I think that a relapse in that type of play was part of the reason why they went 1-3 on their recent road trip. With the road to the playoffs being extremely challenging, the teams in those last few playoff spots often battle so hard in the weeks preceding the playoffs that they are exhausted once the playoff run begins. The thing that keeps teams going is their desire and drive to be the last men standing when Lord Stanley’s Cup is presented. If the Flames can keep that diligence and fire that they usually play with going, they have a great chance a lifting the Cup this year.

Similar Posts:

Post a Comment