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Flames @ Coyotes Gamethread - Weak Sister No Longer

Once upon a time, the Coyotes would have been slum busters for the Flames. No longer. Phoenix has enjoyed a modest amount of success this year - more than anyone expected given the degree of their organizational struggles and past failures - and they are full value for their record. How has the turn around happened? Tippett, as Bob notes above is one reasons. Another was collecting a bunch of established /undervalued NHL vets in the off-season. In addition to our Matthew Lombardi, the Desert Dogs added Robert Lang, Taylor Pyatt, Radim Vrbata, Scottie Upshall, Vernon Fiddler and Adrian Aucoin. While none of these players are big time difference makers on their own, what their acquisitions meant for the team was the diminishing of the many of the kids roles. Tikhonov, Porter, Boedker and Turris are in the AHL where they belong, which is where they weren't to start the season last year. That's a lot of kids to try to break in at the same time. Unless your name is "The Avalanche" and you are riding other-worldly percentages, that doesn't usually work too well.

Stuff to watch for:

- The aforementioned Upshall is having a career season goal wise (18), but it's probably more percentages than anything else. His PDO is average, but his personal SH% is a career high 15.4%. Probably not going to last forever.

- Peter Mueller is rumored to be available and I think he would be a great target for the Flames. It'll be interesting to see how he performs tonight.

- Cory Sarich is rumored to be back in the line-up this evening, adding fuel to the "healthy scratch" fire. I admit I'll be stunned if he's a Calgary Flame post trade deadline.

- Shane Doan has 10 points in his last 5 games, including an OT GWG over the Red Wings recently. He must be reveling in the relative paradise of success and competence he's experiencing this year. Been a long time for him.

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