The Calgary Flames hosted the Arizona Coyotes last night in what was an important two-point game. Karri Ramo started in net while the starting lineup included Dennis Wideman, Deryk Engelland, Josh Jooris, Matt Stajan, and Lance Bouma. Jiri Hudler and Michael Frolik had injuries that prevented them from being included in the lineup at all.
The first period saw the most productive Flames group, but the Coyotes still managed to dominate most of the plays. Even a Flames power play couldn't help the home team in spite of playing against the 24th penalty kill team in the league. Sean Monahan had a good chance on net, but couldn't seem to bury the puck. Enter Johnny Gaudreau to save the day with his first point in five games. The Coyotes took over the offensive play for the rest of the period and Ramo remained focused throughout the period, but he could only hold on for so long before Arizona got the best of him and they tied the game. With Mason Raymond to the box for a high-stick, Arizona pressured on the offence and, like a slow-motion pinball, the puck deflected around the slot a couple times before finally catching the post and making its way slowly over the goal line. The score was 1-1 going into the second period.
Again, another period when the Arizona offence dominated and the Flames looked a little messy in both ends. But the pressure that they put on the Coyotes in the offensive zone helped the home team to generate chances even though they couldn't finish. By the middle of the period, the Flames offence looked stuck. They could generate some offence, but it usually fell flat with a turnover or a bad pass which resulted in having to start all over again in the play. Another Brodie penalty would stun the offence because Brodie doesn't usually take more than one penalty in a game, if any at all. The score remained 1-1 after 40 minutes.
I could have done without this period all together as the Flames were a disaster. Giveaways, bad passes, and not making smart decisions were the theme of this period and it was getting tough to watch. Bob Hartley started playing with his lines again, like usual, but nothing was working. And I don't think it was the best decision during that time. Instead of a complete overhaul of lines, I think it would have been more productive to change up one or two players during the worst shifts but keep the core players the same. With all the shuffling that was going on, Arizona capitalized on the Flames lack of defence and scored again. It was 2-1 for the Coyotes. Raymond and Wideman were caught playing the puck instead of their players. Monahan and Mikael Backlund just couldn't finish. And the lineups were a mess. Even at the end of the game, with an extra attacker on the ice, the Flames still couldn't create enough plays to generate some offence. And, when they did, the Coyotes defence shut them down. The Flames fell the the Arizona Coyotes 2-1.
Flame Of The Game
High-five for Karri Ramo, who kept the home team alive for most of the game. With 31 saves on 33 shots during his 58:29 on ice, Ramo was a one-man show in his attempt to keep his starter position - and he earned it. His save percentage during this game was .939 which is enough, I'm guessing, to earn him a start next game as well.
But we'll have to wait and see what happens as the Flames now have three days off to prepare for their next battle against the San Jose Sharks on Monday.