|Written by Jerry Santiago|
|Thursday, 16 April 2009 09:32|
NHL Playoffs action Thursday will include what could be the most even matchup in the west with plenty of offense to make for NHL scores between Calgary and Chicago. NHL Playoffs seedings are 4-Chicago and 5-Calgary and both teams can play games that make for high NHL scores.
The Calgary Flames lost a lot of momentum in the final stages of the regular season as they blew the northwest division title after leading for nearly the entire season. The Flames lost 11 of their final 18 games and blew home ice for the first round of the NHL Playoffs in the process. The Flames ranked a strong 7th overall on offense but just 23rd overall for defense, which makes for potentially high NHL scores.
Jarome Iginla is the key asset for Calgary heading into the NHL Playoffs as he lead the team in scoring with 35 goals and 54 assists. Beyond that Iginla brings grit and "presence" as he is a natural leader and team captain.
Michael Cammalleri is the other main spark plug to the Calgary attack for the NHL Playoffs as he had 39 goals and 43 assists. The Flames big problem is that defense, which has often failed to offer full support to goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, who had a 2.84 goals against average. The Flames are also going to need better scoring depth to succeed in the NHL Playoffs.
Scoring depth is not as much of a problem for the high flying Chicago Blackhawks, who are a better balanced team than Calgary entering the NHL Playoffs. Chicago was ranked 4th overall on offense while ranking 5th overall on defense. The Hawks won 6 of their final 7 regular season games to bring good momentum into the NHL Playoffs.
One of the key elements in Chicago's potential success in the NHL Playoffs comes from goaltenders Nikolai Khabibulin and Cristobal Huet. Khabibulin had a 2.35 goals against average and 24 wins while Huet had a 2.53 goals against average and 20 wins. It is ironic that Khabibulin was released by Chicago last off season but went unclaimed in the league, so he returned to the Windy City, much to the benefit of himself and the club.
Sign up today! BetRoyal.com has this one along with the rest of the NHL playoff card!