9:30 PM EST
The Jackets kick off another 4 game West coast swing tonight in Calgary.
The bad news? The Jackets have lost 3 of their past 4 in Calgary including both game last season.
The good news? At least one of those losses last season was in OT.
The Pengrowth Saddledome is a tough place to play. The Flames only lost there 10 times last season which was tied for the 6th best home record in the NHL.
As a fan, I enjoy the helluva out these games as they are so damn confrontational... I'm not sure if it's because their styles are so similar or it's just as simple as they just don't like each other but the players on both sides are like bulls locking horns.
Same ole same ole.. Iginla leads the Flames and Nash leads the Jackets. The offense the Flames can generate on the backend really seperates these two squads.
Iginla though is off to a very slow start. In fact he is tied for 6th on the team in scoring with only 4 points. Pahlsson and co. will need to make sure he's stays bottled up and the entire team needs to make sure they limit the chances from the Flames blueline. They were successfull in their pervious meeting but can they do it again..... this time on the road?
As far as the Jackets O they need the rest of the top 6 to start playing to the level of Nash. If they can get some production out of guys like Voracek, Brassard, Juice, Umberger and Vermette I like their chances.
This Flames team can score.. they've thrown up 30 goals in 8 games... they'll have the last line change and a very good home crowd behind. They get the edge.
As I stated the last time these two teams met on paper you'd think the Flames were the better defensive squad. However defense isn't just the names on the blueline.. it's the buy in from the goalie on out and I have no doubt the Jackets are much tighter in this area right now than the Flames.
To illustrate this look no further than the goals against. Through 8 games the Flames have given up 28 goals while the Jackets have given up just 12 through 6.
Hitch and Murphy will need to work the matchups and guys are gonna need to get out on those points and sacrafice their bodies. Don't give up the odd man rushes.. get sticks in the lanes and everybody needs to be responsible in all 3 zones. No breakdowns or unforced turnovers.
The d corps played well against LA with each guy picking up a share of the minutes lost when Hejda went down. The battles will be much more physical for this one and this corps is going to have to elevate their games even further.
Basically the Jackets just need to keep doing what they've done thus far and they'll be fine.
Mase got the better of Kiprusoff the last time they met but both played well.
Mase is sitting on a .925 Save% and a 2.35 GAA.
Kiprusoff has a .902 and a 3.26 GAA.
The Flames have been giving up a lot of goals but how much of those have been on Kipper? Judging by the Tuesday loss I couldn't fault him for either Jacket goals.
This will be an interesting matchup and Mase has turned in two steady games in a row and I like where his game is currently at. He is going to have to be sharp at tracking those shots from the points and not giving up juicy rebounds.
Not that this is much of a stretch but for me this game will be decided on special teams.
The Flames have the #2 PP in the league vs. the Jackets #1 PK.
The Jackets PK won round 1 by blocking shots, getting sticks in lanes, winning board balttes, clearing the crease and forcing shots wide...but are they up for round 2? This time without a Jan Hejda?
Jacket need to be ready for some IN YOUR FACE HOCKEY!
Jackets cannot allow themselves to get pushed out of this game. This is not LA which was a tennis match compared to playing Calgary.
The Flames loss in Columbus is still fresh and they are going to want some payback. Don't give them any early momentum that get's their crowd behind them.
This will be a 60 minute battle and anything less from the boys in union blue will equal a road loss.
Just a reminder that I'll have a Live Blog tonight! Stop on by!!