|Calgary Flames @ Arizona Coyotes, 7 PM MT, Gila River Arena, Glendale AZ|
|TV: RSNF, Fox Sports Arizona|
|Radio: Sportsnet 960|
The Flames are hitting the road for a quick 2 game road trip that starts in the desert against the Arizona Coyotes. This is the 3rd of 5 meetings between the two division rivals with the Flames winning both of the previous games 2-1 in OT.
The Flames are on a small slide right now as they have dropped 2 straight and have been outscored 10-4 by the Lightning and Blue Jackets. Chad Johnson appears to have hit a wall and the Flames are struggling a bit scoring goals. What is not struggling is the Flames power play. During this mini slump, 3 of Calgary’s 4 goals have come on the PP and they’ve had one in 7 straight games. The Flames and Coyotes are in different places in the standings, but each game has been a hard fought battle and gone into overtime. While on paper it would appear that the Flames should walk out with an easy victory, that hasn’t been the case so far against the ‘Yotes this season.
Arizona has played fairly well in the month of December, but they’ve dug themselves such a hole early on it’ll take a miracle to get them out. The Coyotes have one 3 out of their last 5 after dropping 6 straight between November 29th and December 8th and this team likes playing extra hockey. Of the Coyotes 31 games, 10 have made it to OT or a SO. They sit just 3 points ahead of last place Colorado in the West and a loss to Calgary tonight will bring the Western Conference basement closer in the rear view mirror.
Here’s how the teams match-up:
|Calgary Flames||Arizona Coyotes|
|4th Pacific||Division||7th Pacific|
|6th West||Conference||11th West|
|Monahan (10)||Goals||Vrbata (8)|
|Gaudreau (21)||Points||Vrbata (20)|
|Johnson (.924)||Save %||Smith (.930)|
|17.0 % (17th)||PP %||14.6 % (27th)|
|78.5 % (24th)||PK %||80.4 % (20th)|
|Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)||Record||GAA||Save %|
|Flames: Elliott (E)||3-9-1||3.31||.886|
|Coyotes: Smith (E)||7-5-4||2.62||.930|
Calgary Flames 1 Columbus Blue Jackets 4
The Flames last played on Friday night and were absolutely dominated by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Calgary got a PP goal from Sean Monahan, but that was all she wrote as Chad Johnson gave up 4 goals on 29 shots to earn his second straight loss. Here’s our recap, the highlights, Mark Giordano’s post game and the stats from the contest.
|Flames Stats vs Blue Jackets 12/16/16|
Arizona Coyotes 1 Minnesota Wild 4
The Coyotes had a 2 game win streak snapped Saturday night with a 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild. Brendan Perlini got his second goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough as the Coyotes came up short. Five For Howling has the recap and NHL.com provides the highlights.
Players to Watch
Calgary Flames: Sean Monahan (C). Sean Monahan has found his game and the Flames desperately needed that to happen. The young centre has 6 points in his last 5 games (3G 3A) and all 3 of this goals have come on the PP. After his early season troubles seemed to be eating him up, Monahan has turned it on lately, including a 9 point effort so far in December.
Arizona Coyotes: Radim Vrbata (F). Vrbata is one of the few Coyotes getting himself onto the score sheet. He has 3 assists in his last 5 games and that gives him 5 so far for the month. Vrbata leads Arizona in goals and points and his play at Gila River Arena has been exceptional. In 13 games at home Vrbata has collected 9 of his 20 total points, but has been held pointless in 2 games so far against the Flames.