It doesn’t get any closer than it is now in the Western Conference. Even with the Flames huge overtime victory against the Sharks on Tuesday, the Flames stayed in 10th place, in a three way tie for 9th place with the Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings. The Coyotes come into Calgary for the 4th and final meeting against the Flames after a big 5-4 victory over the Canucks last night in Vancouver. Since these two teams last met on Mar. 1st, the teams have once again gone in the opposite direction. At the time, Phoenix was coming off an unbelievable month of February where they went 11-0-1, while the Flames were on a 4-game losing streak. Since then, the Flames used that victory to go on their current 5-1-1 streak, while the Coyotes won just their second game in their past 8 last night in Vancouver. The two teams now sit just 3 points apart heading into this crucial four-point game.
Some of the Flames best play has come against the Sharks this season and they will look to continue that as they host the Sharks in the fourth and final meeting of the season. The Sharks hold a 2-1 series lead but every game has been decided by one goal with two games needing extra time. The Flames have had a great month of March so far with a 4-1-1 record and even with all the injuries up front, have found their groove offensively, averaging 4.5 goals per game this month. The Sharks on the other hand recorded their first victory in 6 games last night, defeating the Oilers in Edmonton, 3-2. The Flames have done a good job this month taking advantage of struggling teams as they hope to catch the Sharks on the wrong foot tonight.
Injuries have been the big story for both teams all season long as the Flames head into Minnesota to face the Wild this afternoon. This will be the fifth of six meetings between the clubs as the Flames have taken three straight over the Wild. Minnesota has been on a downward spiral ever since they had a league best 20-7-3 record on Dec. 10th, now sitting in 13th spot in the Western Conference and 8 points out of the final playoff spot. The Flames on the other hand, while being inconsistent have gone on a nice run recently, going 3-1-1 in their past five games and now only sit 2 points back of the 8th seeded Colorado Avalanche with two games in hand.
Tonight features the first match-up since Mar. 31, 1996 between the Flames and the Winnipeg Jets. Both teams are in fierce playoff battles in their respective conferences and need every point they can get down the stretch. The Flames haven’t played since Tuesday and better have enjoyed the two days off as the rest of the month is crazy busy with 13 games in the next 23 days. The Jets on the other hand will finish off a back-to-back tonight as they went down in defeat, 3-2 to the Canucks last night in Vancouver.
Two struggling teams meet at the Dome tonight as the Flames and Montreal Canadiens finish off their season series in their second meeting. The Flames took the first game, in Montreal, 4-1 as Miikka Kiprusoff became the all-time franchise leader in goaltender wins, surpassing Mike Vernon. The Flames come into tonight’s match-up after another heart breaking loss to the Dallas Stars, 3-2 in a SO on Sunday afternoon. The Canadiens on the other hand only have pride to play for at this point as they will look to play spoilers the rest of the way, sitting in 15th place in the Eastern Conference.
Every game is important for the Flames at this point but tonight’s contest against the Stars is pretty much their season. This will be the second of four meetings between the clubs with the Stars taking the first meeting on Feb. 16th 3-2 in overtime. That meeting sent the two teams on two separate paths. Before that February meeting, the Flames held a 3 point lead over the Stars but with a 2-3-3 stretch, the Flames now find themselves 4 points back of the Stars for the 8th and final playoff spot. The Stars have been red hot since then going 6-1-2 and are current on a six game point streak (5-0-1). Make note this game is a 4 pm start.
Life for the Calgary Flames doesn’t get any easier tonight as they head into Anaheim to face the Ducks, to conclude their mini two-game road trip. The Flames return to Anaheim for the second time this season, a place where they haven’t won since 2004, going 0-9-5 during that stretch. This is the third of four meetings between the two clubs, as they have split the first two games, each winning on home ice. Both teams are scratching and clawing, trying to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Flames, after their victory in Phoenix last night, got within two points of the 8th place Dallas Stars, while the Ducks currently sit 7 points back.