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[Open Thread] Game Forty Preview: Calgary Flames at San Jose Sharks

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20-14-7
2nd in Northwest Division
5th in Western Conference
22-12-5
2nd in Pacific Division
4th in Western Conference

If the playoffs started today, this would be Game One in the first round.  But it's not.  Just like the last game the Sharks played would have been Game Three in the first round.  But it wasn't.  And if the playoffs started with the next Sharks game this Saturday at home against Columbus, the game wouldn't be played because the Blue Jackets aren't in the top eight in the Western Conference.  But we'll deal with that come Saturday.

Mike Keenan's matchstick men have been playing well as of late, led by (who else?) Jarome Iginla, one of the absolute best combinations of force and finesse in the NHL.  Miikka Kiprusoff hasn't been his usual super-sharp this year, but Calgary's offense has been compensating by lighting it up early and often.  And oh yeah, Dion Phaneuf is a hit everything that moves and if it moves again hit it twice misery to play against whenever a team has the puck in the Flames end of the ice.  The Sharks had best be ready to go physical and eschew the pretty stuff.  Actually, they should do that against everyone, since whenever they try the cutesy and clever route their attempt at dazzling turns into a dud.

Crank it up, boys.  It's old time hockey tonight.