Giordano’s status big concern for Flames

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Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano underwent an MRI on Wednesday and his status for Thursday’s game against the Nashville Predators (and potentially beyond) remains unknown due to a lower-body injury.

Giordano exited the Flames’ 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday midway through the second period and did not return.

Flames coach Geoff Ward did not have much of an update on Wednesday, only to say that Giordano’s status for the time being is all speculation and that it is now in the hands of the team’s doctors and medical personnel.

“He’s your captain. It’s a huge piece for us,” Ward said. “Not only are you losing a guy that’s your top-two defenseman, you’re losing potentially your leader if it turns out to be something serious for some period of time. Anytime you lose a guy of that stature out of your lineup it has the potential to have a big impact. For us, we have to shield ourselves against that and if he does miss some time that we’re ready to step up and fill the void left by him. I don’t think one guy can do that, but a lot of guys can.”

Losing Giordano for any length of time would be a pretty significant issue for a Flames that finds itself in a fight for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. They occupy the second wild card spot in the Western Conference following Tuesday’s loss, while also sitting just two points back of second place in the Pacific Division. They are among that pack of teams in the Pacific that is separated by just a couple of points and seems to have an equal chance of getting home-ice advantage in Round 1 or missing the playoffs entirely.

While Giordano is not playing at the same level that resulted in his first Norris Trophy a year ago, he remains the Flames’ best overall defenseman and one of their top overall players.

Nobody plays more minutes than his 23:57 per game, he is by far the team’s top point-producing defenesemen, and also their most impactful defensive player.

He has only missed five total games since the start of the 2015-16 regular season.

The Flames’ next two games are absolutely massive in terms of the playoff race, hosting a Nashville Predators that is just three points behind them (with multiple games in hand) on Thursday, and then traveling to first-place Vancouver on Saturday. After that stretch they play five consecutive games against teams that are outside the playoff picture.

They have already lost five of their previous seven games, with their only two wins (January 16 at Toronto; January 29 at Edmonton) coming in shootouts. It has been nearly a month since they won a game in regulation.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

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