Saturday, December 6, 2008

Peepin' Foes: Calgary Flames

I can't decide on if I should bring a sign to Sunday's 7:30 pm game against the Calgary Flames. And if I do, which to bring? What do you think? "Rangers Get 'Em First," "Sloppy Seconds," "Sloppy Defense," "You ARE Boring Iggy," "Play Like Prucha" ???

Where We Are: Hmm, let's see ... our last five games were a blown lead but a shootout win, a blown lead but a shootout win, an utter embarrassment, a come-from-behind shootout win, and another utter embarrassment. Not really a reassuring record heading into a game against a strong, hardworking team that is 6-2 in their last eight games.

Where They Are: After beating Vancouver (the team that trounced us last month at the Garden) in both legs of a home and home, Calgary fell to Dallas in a very disappointingly uneventful game (thanks Gary Bettman). They bounced back with a come-from-behind, hard-fought 4-3 overtime win in St. Louis. That is overtime, not shootout. See, not all the teams in the NHL play for the skills competition, some actually like to win fair and square.

Who To Watch For: Dion "Sloppy Seconds" Phaneuf assisted on all four goals against the Blues. Somehow he didn't record a single hit in 29 minutes on the ice but we all know the kid is a freight train. Sloppy leads a solid defense that includes one of the most underrated blueliners in the NHL - Robyn Regehr. Their offense is underwhelming but Mike Cammalleri scores pretty regularly and they still have the snoozefest that is Jarome Iginla. While he comes across like he has no personality, Iggy is debatably one of the top five talents in the NHL and certainly is one of the classiest. I still get choked up watching him lead the Flames back out to shake Trevor's hand. Daymond Langkow is also one heckuva hockey player and Curtis Glencross is red-hot of late with 12 points in his last 10 games.

What To Watch For: See if the Ranger fans still remember the Steve Moore incident. The building booed Todd Bertuzzi the last time he came through but back then we had Moore's brother. Sadly, I don't think they will. Also keep an eye out for Mark Giordano and former Islander Adrian Aucoin shutting down Z and locking the Mexican't Gomez out of the Calgary zone.

What We'll (Hopefully) See: Colton Orr beating the hell out of upstart heavyweight Brandon Prust. A Swede (Hank) out-dueling a Finn (Kipper) for Scandic pride. The Rangers showing some heart and pride by coming out of the gates flying. And if the game is tied going into the third period, a Ranger team actually attempting to win rather than killing the clock until Hank can do his skill competition magic.

Also Check Out: The capital letter-challenged Hit The Post, the fantastic Five Hole Fanatics and the uber popular Battle of Alberta.

And, as always, head over to Weinman's Ranger Report for the latest in Blueshirt news, even if Sam has (understandably) dedicated a lot of time and space lately to the Sean Avery story.

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