The Calgary Flames are headed south as they take on the Arizona Coyotes. The Flames season unofficially officially came to an end on Saturday before their game even started - the victory by the Minnesota Wild eliminated them from playoff contention. Tonight's lineup seems to greatly reflect that elimination.
Missing from tonight's game will be Johnny Gaudreau who has come down with
the Flames want a higher draft pick an upper body injury. Josh Jooris and Jyrki Jokipakka will also be missing due to injury while Freddie Hamilton and Garnet Hathaway were sent back to the Stockton Heat. Forwards Hunter Shinkaruk, Emile Poirier, and Derek Grant were called up as was defenseman Brett Kulak.
Fans should be excited to see Kulak back on the ice. The 22 year old defenseman didn't put up any points earlier in the season, but he had some great possession numbers on the blue line in his limited sample size. Grant has been en fuego for the heat, but his showing with Calgary earlier in the year was midling; he had no points, slightly below average possession, and at 25 he might be one of those individuals that destroys the minors but for some reason can't quite cut it in the NHL, though there's certainly enough there to keep him around next year as a fourth liner if the team can offload some overpriced contracts that currently reside there.
Shinkaruk was part of the trade just before the deadline where the Flames robbed the Vancouver Canucks blind when they shipped off Markus Granlund. Granlund didn't show the Flames anything during his limited showing and the fact that they were able to get the offensively-gifted 21 year old in return was grand larceny. He'll make his Flames debut tonight and will hopefully impress the brass enough to stick around.
Some fans may remember Poirier from last season. He put up an assist in six games before getting sent back down to the minors. He has not been too impressive this season and this one has to be considered a little bit bewildering - Kenny Agostino was more worthy of the call up, but clearly they just want to see what they have in Poirier. He has 28 points in 51 games.
Joni Ortio will get the start on the road tonight where he seems to excel. In six games he's carrying a 92.98% adjusted save percentage in five on five situations. At home that number falls to 89.62% - bewildering indeed.
Opposing Ortio will be Louis Domingue. Domingue has done decently for Arizona - his 91.36% adjusted save percentage in five on five situations would be the best on the Flames, but it's still only 36th out of the top 60 goalies in minutes. Domingue is still learning the ropes of the N.H.L. and can sometimes let in some bad goals and it would behoove the Flames to pepper him early and often.