Flames vs. Blackhawks playoff preview

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The Blogs

Matchsticks & Gasoline vs. Second City Hockey

The #4 vs. #5 matchup in the West pits Calgary against Chicago.

The Storyline

Chicago has been the feel-good hit of the NHL season, from their on-ice resurgence to the Winter Classic, to the mind-blowing attendance increase driven by an exciting team. How long can the party keep rolling? The Flames, meanwhile, acquired star center Olli Jokinen at the trade deadline; how will he perform in his first-ever playoff appearance?

The Numbers

Calgary Chicago
 Record 46-30-6 10th 46-24-12 6th
 Pts % .598 10th .634 6th
 Goals For/Game 3.06 7th 3.17 4th
 Goals Against/Game 3.00 23rd 2.55 5th
 5-on-5 GF/GA 1.04 13th 1.18 5th
 PP% 17.0 20th 19.3 11th
 PK% 83.4 4th 80.6 17th
 Shots/Game 32.2 8th 32.7 5th
 Shots Against/Game 29.8 16th 28.6 8th
 FO % 51.3 8th 48.1 22nd

This would appear to be a relatively even affair compared to many series, but an argument was made over at Bird Watchers Anonymous that the Flames beat up on the lesser teams, while struggling against playoff-caliber competition. The Blackhawks had more consistent performance.

Goaltending

Calgary


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Miikka Kiprusoff 76 4418 45 24 5 3 209 2.84 2155 1946 .903 4

Chicago


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Cristobal Huet 41 2351 20 15 4 5 99 2.53 1087 988 .909 3
2008 - Nikolai Khabibulin 42 2467 25 8 7 1 96 2.33 1192 1096 .919 3


Most people predicted that having two #1 goalies (at least in terms of salary) on the roster would present a huge issue in Chicago, but in the end, they've gotten decent production out of each.  Certainly the Bulin Wall has been more forbidding this year than at any time since his Cup run with Tampa Bay in 2004.

Penalties

No OtF preview would be complete without a look at Penalty Plus/Minus, to see which players will head to, or send other players to, the box:

 Calgary Penalties Drawn Chicago Penalties Drawn
 Player Draws Fouls Pen +/-  Player Draws Fouls Pen +/-
 Jarome Iginla 49 14 +35  Ben Eager 33 45 -12
 Dion Phaneuf 46 36 +10  Patrick Kane 32 19 +13
 Craig Conroy 27 14 +13  Dustin Byfuglien 31 29 +2
 Mike Cammalleri 27 17 +10  Jonathan Toews 29 23 +6
 Todd Bertuzzi 25 34 -9  Dave Bolland 28 21 +7
 Curtis Glencross 24 18 +6  Kris Versteeg 27 14 +13
Penalties Taken Penalties Taken
 Corey Sarich 20 41 -21  Ben Eager 33 45 -12
 Dion Phaneuf 46 36 +10  Dustin Byfuglien 31 29 +2
 Todd Bertuzzi 25 34 -9  Brent Seabrook 16 28 -12
 Olli Jokinen 19 31 -12  Matt Walker 16 26 -10
 Robin Regehr 15 31 -16  Duncan Keith 8 26 -18
 Adam Pardy 12 28 -16  Adam Burish 25 24 +1

Jarome Iginla finished 2nd in this year's Penalty Plus/Minus standings, a valuable contribution above and beyond the point-per-game production that he already brings. At least this guy doesn't complain about the Calgary captain:


The Prediction

This should be an exciting series, but injuries will ultimately hamper Calgary. I like the Chicago Blackhawks to move on.

NHL Playoffs Blog Coverage, Schedule and Scores - SB Nation

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