GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 01: Head coach Brent Sutter of the Calgary Flames directs his team during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on March 1, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Flames defeated the Coyotes 4-2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Vancouver really can't do anything right, can they? Last night, a two-goal lead in the first ten minutes evaporated as the Phoenix Coyotes decided to take a huge dump right on Roberto Luongo's face and score 3 of the next 4 and 5 of the next 7 to win the game.
Anyways, the Coyotes roll into town on the second game of a back-to-back tonight currently sitting pretty at 81 points (good enough for 7th) with one more game played then our hometown heroes. Obvously, it's been beaten into the ground how important these games are, so I'll just assume you've been paying attention and won't spend any time on that.
It's nothing new to say Mike Smith's had quite the season this year. We all know how Dave Tippet's teams have played in the past-a stingy, almost trap style with a lot of possession drivers to make up for the lack of high end scoring talent-but it's unlikely that style of game has really helped Smith that much. As of right now, he owns a .932 EVSV-good enough for 4th in the league among regulars this season. If you want to find a large reason for the 'Yotes success, he's standing in between the pipes.
Usually, a high EVSV% comes a high PDO, and it's a sign of unsustainable luckiness. However, that doesn't look to be the case with Phoenix, as they currently sport a 1008 team PDO-barely in "yeah, OK, that's good" territory. The team's higher-then-usual PDO is backed up by their Shots percentage, currently hovering around .520. I wish we had Don Maloney as our GM, because he continues to do a unreal job in the desert.
For the Flames, don't expect any change from Tuesday's collective fan crescendo-until more guys start to return from injury (likely one of Tim Jackman, Lee Stempniak, Chris Butler or Lance Bouma), don't expect pre-lava Gollum to change much. Miikka Kiprusoff will likely get the start tonight, meaning Leland Irving will tend goal in Shelbyville.
It's the final game of the season between these two teams.
Players to Watch
Sven Baertschi-Likely the last game he'll get at home before being sent back to Portland. Go out with a bang, kid.
Oliver Ekman-Larrson-Holy hell this kid is good.
Hopefully the Flames can take advantage of another team coming off of a back-to-back. I'm crossing every appendage, limb, eye, etc.