Calgary Flames vs Arizona Coyotes, 7 PM MT, Scotibank Saddledome, Calgary AB
TV: SNW - Radio: Sportsnet 960
Calgary Flames 35-26-7 (77 pts) - Arizona Coyotes 33-27-8 (74)
As big games go down the stretch, this surely is one. The Flames will host the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night in a game that puts the Flames 2.5 games ahead of the ‘Yotes or finds Arizona nipping at Calgary’s heels.
The Flames hold a slight three point lead of the Coyotes in the Pacific Division with Arizona in a log jam with Vancouver, Nashville and Winnipeg all at 74 points and battling for the final two playoff spots in the conference. Both teams come into tonight with two game winning streaks and the Coyotes getting a huge victory over Vancouver on Wednesday night.
Calgary comes into this contest with one of their more emotional wins on the season in their back pockets. Calgary found themselves down 2-0 to Columbus Wednesday night with under 9 minutes to go in the third period. Calgary battled back and tied it in the third and managed to play well enough in OT to get the game winner off the stick of T.J. Brodie. If the Flames plan to put some much needed distance between themselves and the ‘Yotes, Calgary is going to have to play much better than they did against the Blue Jackets. Playing less than 10 minutes of quality hockey against a team like Arizona isn’t going to cut it.
The Coyotes have done OK to remain in playoff contention after they hit a snag to start the new year. Arizona lost 7 of the 11 games they played in the month of January and things were looking bleak. Since then they have gone 7-6-2 and gotten themselves right back into the playoff picture and done a lot of it with goaltending. Arizona has given up the 4th least amount of goals, surrendering only 176 goals on the season. Both Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta have save percentages north of .920 and have combined for four shutouts on the season. In Arizona’s last 5 victories they have only given up 9 goals.
These two have already played three times this year, with Calgary holding a 2-1-0 advantage. The last time they met Calgary defeated the Coyotes at Gila River Arena by the score of 5-2. The Flames are 63-37-9 all time at the Saddledome against Arizona and have won 14 out of the last 20 times the Coyotes have come to visit.
Flames: Talbot (Expected) 11-10-1, 2.66 GAA, .916 SV%
Coyotes: Kuemper (Expected) 16-9-2, 2.16 GAA, .929 SV%
Flames - Goals: Lindholm (29), Points: Tkachuk (57), PIM: Tkachuk (74), Save%: Talbot (.916)
Coyotes - Goals: Garland (22), Points: Keller (43), PIM: Ekman-Larsson (38), Save%: Kuemper (.929)
What’s Happening With The Opposition?
Arizona Coyotes Coverage: Five For Howling
Last Time Out
Calgary Flames 3 - Columbus Blue Jackets 2 (OT)
Arizona Coyotes 4 - Vancouver Canucks 2
Players To Watch
Mark Giordano (D): 5 assists in last 5 games
Conor Garland (F): 4 points in last 5 games