Calgary Flames vs Arizona Coyotes, 7 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB
TV: SNW - Radio: Sportsnet 960
Calgary Flames 8-7-2 (18 pts) - Arizona Coyotes 9-4-1 (19 pts)
If it seems like it’s been forever since the Flames were at the Saddledome it’s because it has been. The Flames have been on the road for 10 days over the last two weeks, playing five games and coming back with a mixed bag of results. The Flames took care of the teams they should have defeated, but they struggled against better teams that are leading the East. What’s been more frustrating is the inconsistency with the Calgary offence. In five games on the road they scored a total of 13 goals, meaning they averaged 2.6 goals per game, that with a six spot against Nashville.
What hasn’t been inconsistent is the Flames PK. Calgary killed nine of the 11 penalties they took last week and they are one of the best overall in the NHL. The boys in red are killing penalties at a rate of 86.9% which is good for 4th in the league. The Flames penalty killers have had to be on top of their game as Calgary has been short handed 61 times and only surrendered 8 goals.
When you usually think of the Arizona Coyotes you think of a slumping team in the desert that is usually an easy win...not anymore. Arizona has come out of the gates like gang busters this season, winning nine of their first 14 games. They’ve had a heavy dose of road games on the young season and they’ve handled it with ease. Arizona is 5-2-1 away from Gila River Arena and they’ve won eight of their last 10.
What’s even more astounding is how the Coyotes are getting it done: they aren’t a powerhouse offence. They’ve only scored more than four goals three times so far this season and are near the bottom of the NHL in GF with 37. Where they are dominating their opponents is in net. The Coyotes have given up only 28 goals this season, which is second best to Boston’s 26. Both Arizona goaltenders have save percentages above .910 and neither has a GAA above 3.00 (1.67 & 2.96). Combine Kuemper and Raanta’s numbers and the Coyotes are second in the NHL in Save% at .929.
The Flames have taken three of the last four contests at the Saddledome from Arizona, but don’t expect tonight to be a cakewalk. With the Flames offence struggling and Arizona having brick walls in their creases, this sets up as a low scoring defensive battle. Calgary does have one advantage and that’s that they are rested. Arizona just came off a hard fought overtime victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night.
Starting Goalies (E=Expected,C=Confirmed)
Flames: Rittich (E)- 7-4-2, 2.79 GAA, .915 Save%
Coyotes: Raanta (E)- 2-1-1, 2.96 GAA, .914 Save%
Flames: Goals: Lindholm (10) Points: Lindholm (15) PIM: Lucic (30) Save%: Rittich (.915)
Coyotes: Goals: Garland (7) Points: Schmaltz (12) PIM: Crouse (11) Save%: Kuemper (.942)
What’s Happening With The Opposition?
Arizona Coyotes Coverage: Five For Howling
Last Time Out
Calgary Flames 2 - Washington Capitals 4
Arizona Coyotes 3 - Edmonton Oilers 2 (OT)
Players To Watch
Flames: Matthew Tkachuk (F): 5 points in last 3 games
Coyotes: Alex Goligoski (D): 3 assists in last 3 games