The Wild, Wild West III

wild-west-crispin-delgado

 

We don’t need to say much of anything about the Eastern Conference of the NHL.

The 8 playoff positions have already been decided unless the Florida Panthers go on an insane run.

But, it’s different in the west where the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames are surging.

I’ve been saying since the 10 game mark that the Wild are much better than their record indicates…they are outshooting their opponent by more than 5 shots per game and have only been held back by sub par goaltending.

They’re 8-1-1 in their last 10 games played and are challenging for a wild card spot.

Their record has been helped by the stellar goaltending of Oiler reject Devan Dubnyk (I’m still  not totally convinced) and I would think they will be a formidable playoff opponent if they make the second season.

I’ve watched pretty much every Flames game this season and I can’t recall them taking even ONE shift off. They play their bags off every night and, while not the most talented WC team, they are never outworked.  Never.

They walked into San Jose tonight and left with a well deserved 4-1 win and leap frogged the Sharks and Canucks in the standings.

We’re now at the point in the season where goal differential starts to tell you about who is quality and who isn’t:

CHI +39

STL +36

NSH +34

CAL +19

ANA +14

VCR +7

WIN +7

SJS +1

MIN +1

LAK E

DAL -5

COL -15

ARI  -53

EDM – 55

If you have a spare $100…put it on the Wild or the Flames. You’ll get great odds and could get a big payoff.

 

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4 thoughts on “The Wild, Wild West III

  1. The Flames will be okay as long as their shooting % and goalie save % do not tank. With the Flames’ defence, their goalies do not face overwhelming situations that kill goalies confidence and although variation will occur, that should be fine.
    Despite what many analytics people will tell you, shooting % is not totally random. If Ryan Smyth would have relied on skill to score goals, he would still be looking for his first. Calgary has an entire team willing to play this way and they therefore will have a high shooting % because they are often in high quality scoring situations. I don’t think their D scoring will continue at the same pace, but it will be very good.
    Dubnyk is not a goalie who will ever be in Vezina consideration. He lacks the athletic ability. Instead, he must rely on anticipation, his size and precise positioning and movement to be effective. However, a goalie does not have to be elite to be effective. Dubnyk reminds me a lot of J. S. Giguere and with Giguere, the critics that could be heard past the Stanley Cup ring in one ear were silenced by the Conn Smythe trophy covering the other. On a team with management and coaches that believe in him and players and systems that reduce craziness, Dubnyk can be a cost effective option in net.
    It will be an interesting finish.

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    1. Some very good points about eh Flames but a couple of observations…

      The notion that they are getting unsustainable goaltending is just not accurate. Hiller’s save percentage is .915 which is pretty much exactly his career percentage.

      Kari Ramo’s .905 is just a tick above his career .903 and Ortio’s .931 doesn’t mean much since he has only played 5 games although he did post a .926 in 37 games last season in the AHL so perhaps this year’s numbers are close to his established level of ability.

      Agree pretty much completely with your thoughts on their scoring rates. A few players are shooting above their normal rates but not by all that much with the exception of Brodie.

      Good points on Dubnyk but I’m still left with the impression that he might have a fragile psyche based on his implosion in Edmonton but he seems to have adapted very well to the structure in Minnesota.

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  2. Hahaha.

    At the start of the season i made three bets with my good buddy from Kelowna,you may recall.

    1) Colorado wouldn’t make the playoffs.

    2) Vancouver wouldn’t make the playoff’s ( I’m actually a HUGE Horvat fan!)

    3) Hall would be a top 8 scorer………You can’t win em all. hahahah.

    I still loath the Flames and most likely always will, however, it is not lost on me and doesn’t stop me from realizing they are a well coached team that is being put together with the right type of players all working together……………..~ what a weird concept~

    It’s not all talent, They have a game plan stick within it and they simply out work other teams.

    While over at Oilersnation JW talk’s about how advance stats are not in the Oilers favour with Nelson? well, maybe…..But, someone has to tell me how the Flames got to where they are with less then everyone else……..cause the next guy who tells me luck should get kicked right in the fucking junk!! hahaha kidding…….maybe.

    Honestly, Dubnyk!! making MacTavish look dumber by the day, not a bad thing ether.

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  3. You might lose 2 out of 3.

    It appears the Canucks will make the playoffs.

    As for the Flames…they have some issues but they have the lowest payroll in the league and will make out like bandits in the offseason.

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