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Remember that ONE day when SJ was first on top of the Western Conference and the team social media was guns a blazin’? I do, pretty funny now hey?!!! The captain with some words post-game v SJ,
A week after clinching the Western Conference, the Flames now prep for the upcoming first round of the 2019 NHL Playoffs.
Playoff hockey baby. It feels good!
How do the Flames fair against their first round opponents?
They’re looking good, top to bottom. It’s anybody’s game in the “second” season, but Calgary are favorites to emerge from the first round> They’re also the “underdogs” somehow to go further in the West. Not sure how, or why, actually we do know. Eastern pundits don’t watch the Flames. They also think the team is too small to compete. They aren’t wrong about size, but they negate the fact the team finished on the top of the Western Conference by a wide margin. It’s a different game out there and Calgary (Tampa too) will make a run for it.
The only question I see is in goal.
Mike Smith will be the starting goalie, I assume because of his puck handling skills. he’s put up decent numbers since the All-Star break, but will have a seriously short leash come round one. Who knows, he may surprise, but I’d side with Eric Francis on this one. There’s no room for error and if he messes up at home the fans will boo him into oblivion a la Brian Elliott.
As for defence, led by Giordano, team looks solid, perhaps the strongest in the league. They’re definitely the deepest with the likes of Mike Stone now playing 8-9th D-Man. My question on the back end will be whether TJ Brodie can play the big minutes. I don’t think he can.
In terms of offence and scoring, if the top line, looking at you Monahan, can dominate 5v5 play we’re going to be OK. The rest of the lines are doing their part. Line 2 will shut down McKinnon and all look on fire. Line 3 is a darkhorse with James Neal sitting in the wings waiting to be ‘real deal’. 4th line is new 3rd line.
We’ll have some more playoff coverage later this week. But all we need to do now is stock up the snacks, get the car flags out, and GO FLAMES GO!
Game 1, a late one, Thursday at 830PM MST.