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February 1, 2011

Calgary Takes Over First In Northwest, Leafs, Sabres Can`t Rise To Occasion

Last night was a very exciting night in the playoff run. There were several games that had playoff implications in both the Western and Eastern Conference. The Calgary Flames recovered from a disappointing loss in Colorado the night before with a come from behind victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres had chances to gain some ground on the eighth and last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Both Buffalo and Toronto skated to losses. The Washington Capitals did pull out an impressive win over the Carolina but the because of the Leaf loss to the Bruins, they were unable to gain any ground.

The Leafs just did not have enough in the tank to pull off a win. They have not faired very well against the Bruins this year, a team that has been inconsistent. It would be nice to see all of the Canadian teams in the playoffs this year. With Edmonton knocking on the playoff door, the Leafs could end up being the only team north of the border out of the playoffs.

The Sabres lost some heart and soul players due to an inability to get them signed. Although I know that you really can only have one number one goaltender, I think that losing Martin Biron was a big loss, morale wise. Daniel Briere was another guy that I think played a huge role on the team that is no longer there. Last night it looked like the Sabres were mounting a counterattack against the Senators but they just could not go the extra mile. Throughout the season the team has struggled to maintain itself and as the end of the season approaches, time is just running out on Buffalo.

The team that did itself the most good last night was the Flames. If they had lost to the Canucks they would have found themselves on the edge of the playoffs with the Edmonton Oilers and all of the others teams that are so close to making it into eighth place breathing don their necks. By winning last night Calgary was able to leapfrog into third place in the Western Conference. This, of course, is the desirable position for them to be in. Once again Jarome Iginla (can I say enough about him?) turned the game around with a goal to break the Canucks’ 2-0 lead. Daymond Langkow and the almighty Dion Phaneuf(is he always on the ice or is it just me?) scored less than a minute apart to secure a lead that Kiprusoff kept in tact for the team.

I know that they playoff outlook can change from day to day but the Flames have positioned themselves in a good spot. With five games left in their season they just have to enter every contest as if it were a playoff game. The key this year seems to be taking advantage of slumping teams. The Minnesota Wild have not played as well lately and the Flames have a one point lead on them. Consistent play can help keep them on top of the Northwest Division and in a more commanding playoff position.

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