The Flames start this week off with a four game home stand. With two important games against division rivals, and two against Eastern Conference foes, this is sure to be an entertaining week.
11/28 vs Toronto Maple Leafs – the Leafs currently sit at second in the Atlantic division and have won seven of their last 10 games. Toronto is lead by Auston Matthews, with 12 goals and 11 assists. The defense needs to tighten up against this team, as there are numerous offensive powerhouses looking to score. Patrick Marleau is two points shy of 1,100 career points; he will surely be looking to make some major offensive plays. Matthews and Marleau like to score from below the tops of the circles. The defense will need to play tight man to man coverage when in the defensive zone.
11/30 vs Arizona Coyotes – After one of the worst season starts in NHL history, the Coyotes have started to look like a decent team. The Desert Dogs recently beat the red hot Los Angeles Kings in overtime with a score of three to two. Two of their three goals were scored from the blue line, the wings will need to play more tightly against defensemen. Mike Smith and David Rittich – unsure at this time who may be starting – will need to be aware of bodies in front of the net, as well as wingers trying to tip the puck. The Flames will need to keep a close eye on rookie Clayton Keller and especially Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who is playing a strong offensive game for a defenseman.
12/2 vs Edmonton Oilers – The Battle of Alberta is always sure to be a hard fought and fast paced game. The Oilers are currently sitting at second to last in the Pacific Division and are looking to make a comeback. Connor McDavid has been the real playmaker for the Oilers and the defense will not want to give him an inch of room to make a pass. The Flames offense needs to get down low and just keep shooting. Cam Talbot has not had a great start to the year and is sitting on a 3.07 GAA. Talbot showed weakness up high on both his glove and blocker sides in the eight to three loss against the Blues on November 21. If Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau should be taking as many shots as possible in this game. It is important to play smart hockey and not take any pointless penalties against Milan Lucic, who is at tied at number 10 in the NHL for penalty minutes.
12/4 vs Philadelphia Flyers – Philadelphia is currently in last place in the Metropolitan Division, and are looking to come back after a poor start in the first quarter of the season. Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Sean Couturier are leading the offense, and the Flames defense will want to keep them above the tops of the circles to prevent scoring chances. There is also a chance the Flames see a familiar face in net , as Brian Elliott has started seventeen games for the Flyers this season. Elliott faced 52 shots in a loss against Pittsburgh on November 27, and let in five goals. This is another case where the offense needs to take as many shots as possible.
The Flames have a chance to move up in the standings, as all of these teams are beatable. It is important for the Flames to stay out of the penalty box and not give any odd man advantages to any of these teams, as well as to play tight defense and take as many shots as possible – they all can’t be Sports Center highlights