More late night hockey tonight in Western Canada, as the Flyers are in Calgary to take on the Flames. They'll try to get the awful taste of Thursday's loss to Edmonton out of their mouths, but the Flames are a team right on the cusp of the Western Conference playoffs. Things are actually pretty entertaining out there in Calgary right now...
The Flames are one of those teams at the crossroads just two days before the trade deadline. Yeah, they're right there in the playoff mix, sitting just outside at No. 9 heading into tonight's game, but they've been playing like ... well, utter crap lately. Let's allow Matchsticks & Gasoline to explain, which they did following a loss to the Coyotes Thursday night.
Simply not good enough. This is a disappointing loss against a direct playoff competitor and it isn't even one you can say the Flames deserved to win, once again they were the ones stealing a single point. The Coyotes put in a noticeably better effort.
General manager Jay Feaster ripped his team during an intermission interview that night, basically threatening the team with trades at the deadline Monday if things didn't turn around. He backtracked from those comments a bit on Friday, but the point still stands: Tonight's game is really important for the Flames. Not just in the standings, but if they want to have any hope of keeping their team together at the deadline.
We'd have to expect the Flames to come out flying tonight, then. Desperate might be a good word, although as Feaster said, they probably should've expected that on Thursday night and they didn't get it.
Of course, the Flyers are in a very similar boat here. Peter Laviolette wasn't happy after the Edmonton game, and rightfully so considering where the Flyers sit and how they took the second period off the other night. On the bright side, Ilya Bryzgalov had a really solid game, and we know we don't have to worry about this team failing to score goals over the long-term.
As we said the other night, if everything comes together at the same time for this team, they'll be damn scary. Let's make that happen, you guys. Lines might be the same as the Edmonton game, but we'll have to see. Bryz is in goal according to writers at the Saddledome today. Game thread around 8ish.