"As for me, Bucky, my soul was greatly disturbed because the visions rolling around in my head had terrified me. I thought that I must be suffering from delayed post-concussion syndrome - from one of my many resounding victories - so I approached one of the four forwards of heaven and asked him to tell me the truth. The Great One turned to me and told me that he would reveal to me the interpretation of my dream: 'First off, post-concussion syndrome!? I should kill you right now. You're just lucky that Tony Twist isn't part of this vision. As for the four beasts, four teams have risen out of the earth but it is the holy ones who belong to the Most High that will be granted victory and glory forever.'"
"I still though that this had to be post-concussion syndrome but nonetheless decided to drop the issue. No sense in fighting with the apparition. But I still wanted to know the truth about the fourth beast which was different from the other beasts, more evil and more terrifying than they were. I still needed to know about the beast whose teeth of iron had been ripped out and whose elbows were made of stone and bent on unholy destruction. I longed to know about the beast with the five small horns and the one large horn that came up out of its head and was the reason for the utterance of great blasphemies. When I looked at that horn, for a moment I saw the world through its eyes. I saw a war with the forwards of heaven in which it the beast prevailed. I was frightened and looked away but the beast was screaming that war, that it was a sign of things as they are and a sign of things to come, how the forwards of heaven were powerless to help those who belonged to the Most High. I looked at the beast again and again I saw with its eyes, three consecutive battles representing three consecutive years of failure and torment. I looked away and the beast laughed until suddenly that Ancient of Days appeared in my mind's eye. Then judgment was delivered as I looked on and there was a fourth battle. It belonged to the chosen ones of God."
"And then the Great One spoke to me again about what I had just seen: 'This fourth beast is the most despicable of the four teams that have risen out of the earth, evil in its purest form. It loves pain, delights in destruction, strong enough to maim but cowardly and stupid. As for the five horns, they are five years where this team of deviants claimed victory over the division. The larger horn is the greatest of abominations. It is one year when this team rolled over four others including the most ancient of empires and ruled over the whole league for a time. It consistently slandered the Most High but avoided a match against his holy ones. The beast did not defeat them but claimed victory and dominion over them. This will be a foreshadowing of things to come. It will lose its dominion over the league but will be granted power over the chosen ones of God for a time, two times and a half a time after the chosen are given a moment of fleeting glory in order to punish them for their sins."
"But then the Most High will sit in judgment and the beast will get its just reward: it will be mocked by outsiders and tortured by the poor play of its aging warriors. Then, after the arrival of the Ancient of Days and the time of repentance is ended, dominion will be given in its fullness to the Oilers, the team chosen by God, the holy ones of the Most High. Their kingdom will never end and they will hold the Cup overhead year after year."
"This is the end of my account. As for me, Bucky, my soul was greatly disturbed because the visions rolling around in my head terrified me. My face still turns pale whenever I see someone that looks like Tony Twist. I've kept the whole thing to myself until now, the time appointed for its revelation. "
(Calgary Flames 3-0-0) @ Edmonton Oilers (1-1-0)
Location: Rexall Place, 7:30 PM MDT
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West, NHL Center Ice (DTV Channel 772)
More Analysis After The Jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Calgary Flames are not a bad team this year. There are a lot of folks who think they're a very good team and have picked them to win the division or finish second. I've picked the Flames to finish 8th in the Western Conference this year and third in the division which is a little lower than most. I made that choice largely because of what I perceived to be weaknesses on the power play and in goal. So far this year I'm dead wrong. So far this year the Flames have scored five power play goals on seven opportunities which is a crazy good run. If the Flames true talent is actually the 17.0% they put up last year they would need to go 0 for their next 22. Let's hope things start evening out for them tonight. Their goaltending has also been better than I'd expected with Miikka Kiprusoff posting .915 in his first three starts, a substantial improvement from last year's performance. Fortunately for Oiler fans the Flames haven't been nearly as good at even strength as I would have expected. They've been outshot in all three of their games and their highest paid forwards (Jokinen and Iginla) have been pedestrian at best while playing together (now doesn't that sound familiar). Now, it's early and I don't expect any of these trends to continue long term but I do hope that the goaltending and PP performance turns around a bit sooner than that of the Flames 1st line (the major reason they're having EV problems at all).
Notes From the Enemy: Kent Wilson at Matchsticks and Gasoline sends this along: I think the Flames were lucky to win the last one and are fortunate to be at 3-0. Calgary's depth players have been carrying the mail, but the Iginla/Jokinen pairing continues to falter. If the Flames big guns continue to fire blanks, I think Edmonton will take this one.
Expected Starting Lineups:
Calgary Flames (3-0-0):
Moss - Jokinen - Iginla
Dawes - Langkow - Bourque
Glencross - Conroy - Sjostrom
Nystrom - Boyd - Prust
Regehr - Bouwmeester
Phaneuf - Giordano
Pardy - Kronwall
Edmonton Oilers (1-1-0):
Penner - Horcoff - Hemsky
Jacques - Gagner - O' Sullivan
Comrie - Brule - Stone
Moreau - Cogliano - Stortini
Souray - Strudwick
Grebeshkov - Gilbert
Smid - Visnovsky
Behind The Numbers:
Penner also leads the team in scoring chances on/15 with 4.911. Jacques is last on the team in chances against on/15 at -8.442.
Sam Gagner hasn't been on the ice for a scoring chance against in the first two games.
The Oilers have gone 52.14% (61 wins - 56 losses) in the faceoff circle thus far. Mike Comrie leads the team at 80% (12 wins - 3 losses) while Sam Gagner has struggled thus far at 29.4% (5 wins - 12 losses). Shawn Horcoff has lived up to his high standards at 58.7% (27 wins - 19 losses) while taking 40% of the total faceoffs for the team as Pat Quinn has leaned heavily on him in the early going.
The much-ballyhooed Dion Phaneuf has been on the ice for two goals for at even strength and six goals against.
Adam Pardy has rolled nothing but sevens on his come out as he has been on the ice for five goals for and zero goals against.
The Flames' bottom two lines have accounted for 4 goals and 5 assists in their first two games.