Friday, April 20, 2007

Calgary Flames vs. Detroit Red Wings - Game 5 - The Man, The Legend

The Legend:

He haunts the dreams of Red Wings' shooters. He has to. Calgary has been outplayed for arguably 4 straight games, or at least 9/12 or so periods. But in only one game were they totally out of it by the third, and two of those games they won. Almost the sole reason for the Flames success lies between the pipes. The Finnish Wonder, the Mad Puck Theif. Kipper.

His save percentage is only 5th in the league in this playoff season, but he's behind Giguere (who has only played a couple games and whose team dominated their opponents), Luongo and Turco (both of whom have not faced many quality shots due to their teams' defensive play) and Lundqvist (whose team ran roughshod over their first round opponents). Kipper has also made significantly more saves/minute on the ice, making a save about .63/minute. Luongo and Turco have been much less busy, making only about .46 and .43/minute respectively. Lundqvist and Giguere? Well they aren't even close.

The Man:

As good as Kipper is, he's beatable. His goals against average is 2.75, 12th among playoff goalies. Even though thats mostly due to his team's ineptitude, it is what is is. Kipper has the burden of dealing with his team, and the Detroit Red Wings get the priviledge of dealing with his team.

He hasn't won often on the road this season, and not at all in this playoff series. Although he played heroically in Detroit, he still lost. The Red Wings know they can score on him, and they know they can beat him.

And Kipper has been known to have a bad game every once in a while. It happens to all great players, to think it won't is unrealistic.

Can the Flames ride out a bad game by Kipper? Can the Flames win on the road? Game 5 of this series will probably end up being the deciding game. If the Flames can steal today's game, they should be able to finish the series off in Game 6. Lose, and don't be suprised if Detroit steals the next one in the 'Dome. A lot is riding on this game, in all liklihood, it is the series.

One final thought: We will not see the Flames from game 1 & 2 at the Joe Louis. It will be a different team. That is my expectation anyway.

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