Monday, May 01, 2006


Flames Game Night

Game 6, CGY @ ANA, 9PM MDT

I woke up this morning in a verrrryy cautious and superstitious mood. I suspect it was inevitable, but the elite & frequent Flames commenter peter mentioned something yesterday that no doubt cinched it:
And some people are saying Giguere has lost it (maybe that's fair) but I maintain his replacement is not better. In fact, at the risk of awakening the ghost of Wade Flaherty, I say bring on the backup for game 6.

I happen to agree entirely with his assessment of the Ducks' goaltending situation (if you're skeptical, take another look at the Flames Game 1 OT goal), but things like Wade Flaherty happen.

You (er, Flames fans, anyway) may remember the 1995 playoffs. The Flames lost the first two games at home, being at various times outplayed and outlucked. But by the time Calgary won Game Five at home 5-0 to take a 3-2 series lead -- on the heels of a win in San Jose where Theoren Fleury had a shorthanded hat trick -- the Flames looked like far and away the better team. And yet they couldn't put it away in Game 6, and while they mostly dominated Game 7, they got stoned by Wade Flaherty (56SV/60Shots) and eventually lost in 2OT on a goal by Ray Whitney.

Here in 2006, the Flames don't have a comparable edge over Anaheim, but they have shown themselves to be the better team. They've moved into a position to clinch the series in Game 6 without needing any Kiprusoff heroics to speak of. They've won two of the last three games in pretty dominating fashion, one of which was on the road, and the third really could have gone either way. They've only allowed one real even-strength goal in those 3 games (the Getzlaf breakaway - O'Donnell's OT goal was also ES, but before Yelle got back into the play from the penalty box). This is all pretty good stuff.

Unfortunately, none of it counts for dick-all towards winning that 4th game. The Flames' play makes me optimistic about tonight's game, but the hockey gods make me nervous.

If I was a Hockey God and could write the game script, I'd make it an early Iginla goal, followed by Kipper continuously robbing Selanne and Lupul blind for 2-1/2 periods for the 1-0 victory. It would remind potential 2nd-round opponents that this is just a two-man team, with the bonus of making their shooters concerned about putting every shot hard-top-corner. Since I'm not a Hockey God, I'll be hoping for another three-goal lead early in the 2nd period, thank you very much.

Actual prediction: somewhere in between, probably a 2-1 regulation victory that has my stomach in knots until the final horn goes. Go Flames.


Matt, I can't believe you mentioned that series on game day. That was a foolish mistake.

Eh, if things go sour, you can blame me. I'm superstitious, but not in the "Don't mention the Scottish play" kind of way.

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Put away your superstitions. there is nothing to fear from them. I am convinced that the price the hockey gods exacted for our 1989 Cup was 15 years of playoff futility (including some of the most flabbergasting, frustrating and hair graying losses in NHL history). If I was told in April 1989 this was the priced we'd pay, I'd have signed up (maybe Cliff Fletcher signed such an arrangement in Lanny's blood. Who knows).

But now we've served our time and our sentence is ended. The Wade Flaherty losses, fluky Esa Tikkanen goals, etc etc etc and etc. are all history.

Happily, the Oilers seem to have signed up for the same deal (witness overall futility and haplessness since 1990 or so). However, after 5 cups, it will probably take another 60 or so years in the wilderness before they've done their time.

Go Flames

Peter (elite commenter)

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