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Calgary Flames at Arizona Coyotes game preview: Even more Joni Ortio? Yay!

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It's Drew Shore's Flames debut, and because Arizona has beaches and the game is taking place in Arizona... somebody else think of a pun because I can't.

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Remember TRUCULENCE?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

First, a four-game swing through the southwest United States, then, the All-Star break. The Calgary Flames' road trip kicks off with the fourth of five meetings against the Arizona Coyotes. The Flames have already won the season series, having beaten the Coyotes in the first three matchups by scores of 5-3, 3-0, and 5-2. With the Coyotes in the McEichel race and the Flames closer to the playoffs than drafting a generational talent, you know Calgary's gotta have this marked as a must-win. (Fun fact: the Coyotes already swept the Edmonton Oilers this season. How about a .500 record against Alberta?)

While the games against the Coyotes have been fun, you know what else was? Shutting out the Vancouver Canucks, that's what. And that's exactly what the Flames did last game, all the way back on Saturday, Jan. 10. While the Canucks seriously outplayed the Flames, rookie goalie and call up Joni Ortio seriously outplayed the Canucks, earning the first shutout of his NHL career. Thanks to him, all the Flames needed was to score their first goal on their first shot, courtesy of the magnificent and ever-underappreciated Mikael Backlund. | RecapStatsBoxscore | Miikka Kiprusoff two-point-oh was up to the task:

Thus far into 2015, the hockey team that resides in the Phoenix area has a 2-3 record, but only their most recent game has been close. 6-3 and 4-1 wins over the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets are exciting, but 6-0 and 5-1 losses to the St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators, probably less so. Most recently, the Coyotes fell 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks, the game-winning goal coming early in the third period. Devan Dubnyk started that game. Devan Dubnyk is no longer a Coyote.

Someone who still is a Coyote, however, is Philip Samuelsson. While the Flames have Drew Shore making his Flames debut tonight, Samuelsson is expected to make his Yotes debut. He's a 23-year-old rookie defenceman who has already played five NHL games for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and has no points. So. Let's not get any ideas about first NHL goals here or anything. (Unless it's Ortio's first NHL goal, that would be awesome.)

For more substantial opposition information, head on over to our friends at Five For Howling.

Game time: 7:00 p.m. MT

Channel: SNW

All-time record: Historically, the Flames are the better of the two teams (that whole three-game win streak might have something to do with it). The all-time record against the Coyotes is 91-76-20-6, and the Flames have a +54 goal differential. The Coyotes can be boring and low-scoring so... that makes sense.

Common threads: David Moss played for the Flames for a while! A seventh round draft pick that came in alongside Craig Conroy, he played 317 games over six seasons for Calgary. He's quietly been a positive possession player throughout his career, but also has this unfortunate tendency to get injured a lot. When deemed unnecessary to retain, the Coyotes decided they liked him, and he's still playing down where a number of Calgarians decide to spend their winters.

Also, General Manager Brad Treliving once had something to do with the Coyotes as recently as, like, nine months ago or so. Then Brian Burke whisked him away, and he seems to be an alright guy. Thanks Phoenix! (They were still Phoenix when he left. I think. Well, they'll always be Phoenix to me.)

Approaching milestones: So we're basically doing a countdown to Mark Giordano's 500th game now. Tonight is game number 493 for him. Remember that time he played a year in Russia because he couldn't get a one-way contract?

Current records and leaders

Calgary Flames Arizona Coyotes
22-18-3: 47 points 16-22-4: 36 points
Pacific Division: 5th Pacific Division: 6th
Western Conference: 9th Western Conference: 13th
Time on ice
Defence: TJ Brodie (25:02 per game)
Forward: Sean Monahan (19:31 per game)
Defence: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (25:23 per game)
Forward: Antoine Vermette (19:06 per game)
Points
Goals: Jiri Hudler
Johnny Gaudreau (13)
Assists: Mark Giordano (26)
Points: Jiri Hudler (38)
Goals: Mikkel Boedker (13)
Assists: Keith Yandle (22)
Points: Antoine Vermette (28)
Shots
Shots on goal: Sean Monahan (106)
Shooting percentage: Matt Stajan (20.0%)
Shots on goal: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (133)
Shooting percentage: Antoine Vermette
Mikkel Boedker (16.9%)
Faceoff Leaders
Sean Monahan (50.0%, 952 taken) Martin Hanzal (57.9%, 513 taken)
Grit
Penalty minutes: Brandon Bollig (40)
Hits: Lance Bouma (135)
Blocked shots: Kris Russell (133)
Penalty minutes: Kyle Chipchura (51)
Hits: Shane Doan (99)
Blocked shots: Michael Stone (108)
Corsi/Fenwick (minimum 1/2 team's games played)
Corsi for%: Mark Giordano (47.1%, 43 GP)
Jiri Hudler (46.8%, 41 GP)
TJ Brodie (46.8%, 43 GP)
Fenwick for%: Josh Jooris (49.8%, 31 GP)
Johnny Gaudreau (48.5%, 42 GP)
Corsi for%: Martin Erat (53.9%, 42 GP)
Martin Hanzal (53.3%, 31 GP)
Fenwick for%: Martin Erat (53.2%, 42 GP)
Martin Hanzal (51.3%, 31 GP)


Possible starting lineups

Calgary Flames
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Curtis Glencross Sean Monahan Jiri Hudler
Johnny Gaudreau Mikael Backlund David Jones
Lance Bouma Drew Shore Joe Colborne
Brandon Bollig Matt Stajan Paul Byron
Left Defense Right Defense
Mark Giordano TJ Brodie
Kris Russell Dennis Wideman
Rafa Diaz Deryk Engelland
Goalies
Joni Ortio
Jonas Hiller

Arizona Coyotes
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Lucas Lessio Antoine Vermette Martin Erat
Sam Gagner Martin Hanzal Mikkel Boedker
Tobias Rieder Kyle Chipchura Lauri Korpikoski
Brandon McMillan Joe Vitale David Moss
Left Defense Right Defense
Oliver Ekman-Larsson Michael Stone
Keith Yandle Connor Murphy
Philip Samuelsson Zbynek Michalek
Goalies
Mike Smith
Mike McKenna


The recently called up Drew Shore swaps in for Markus Granlund, which makes sense: centre is Shore's natural position so of course he should start off there, and Granlund isn't NHL ready quite yet. (Before you get mad, remember what healthy scratches have done for other prospects this season.)

Mason Raymond continues to be this season's TJ Galiardi, in that despite not being the worst forward available, Bob Hartley inexplicably hates him when he doesn't produce and therefore won't give him ice time. We've improved from last season because instead of Brian McGrattan and Kevin Westgarth now it's just Brandon Bollig, but we're clearly not quite there yet. Also, somebody needs to inform Hartley that Lance Bouma is a fourth liner. Scratching Bollig, dressing Raymond, and putting Bouma on the fourth line just makes way too much sense to actually happen, apparently.

With Devan Dubnyk's trade, the Yotes now have a tandem of Mikes, while with Karri Ramo's injury, the Flames have a Jonias tandem. Ramo should be healthy soon, which means Joni Ortio will be going back to the AHL. Considering how the rookie is coming off a shutout and his return to the minors is imminent, it only makes sense to give the kid another start. Go Joni.