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What's at stake

Here's what the Avs, Flames and their opponents are playing for on Saturday.


Nashville at Colorado.

For Colorado, it's easy. They need to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Lose to Nashville, and the dream is over. The Predators have incentive as well. Detroit clinched the #1 seed last night by losing in a shootout. Nashville will land at either #4 or #5. A win for them will guarantee the 4th seed and the all important home ice advantage in the 1st round. Obviously, there's the added drama of Peter Forsberg returning to Colorado for the first time since leaving the Avs. I think if the stakes were different, that would be a huge story, but, with the game meaning so much to both teams, I doubt Foppa's presence will be much of a factor (other than what he does on the ice, of course).

Edmonton at Calgary.

And here's the troubling one. If the Avalanche win, they will be in the familiar position of watching and waiting to see how the Flames do later that night. It's the last home game for the Flames, so they'll be itching to finally close the door on the Avs - something they've had two chances at already. Surely they feel that if the game on Sunday has any meaning, Colorado will have a huge boost of momentum. They will be gunning hard. Edmonton? Guh. The Oilers have 1 win since the trade deadline (to Colorado, of course) against 17 losses. They've been shutout 6 times in that span, and haven't scored a goal in the last 172:48 of play. While you can mention the Battle of Alberta pride the Oilers should be playing for, the truth is that this is the last game of a miserable year for them. It's very hard to picture them playing for anything other than a merciful end to the season. If they do pull it together and drop the Flames, it will be a huge upset. Go Edmonton!