The last time these two teams tangled on October 22nd, the Coyotes wrestled away a 4-2 victory at Jobing.com Arena. Phoenix will hope for a similar result when they play the Calgary Flames tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Teams At a Glance
|Phoenix Coyotes||Calgary Flames|
|Points||36 (4th Pacific)||22 (6th Pacific)|
|Goals Per Game||3.22 (4th)||2.62 (17th)|
|Goals Against Per Game||3.11 (25th)||3.54 (30th)|
|Power Play Percentage||22.3% (6th)||14.3% (25th)|
|Penalty Kill Percentage||77.2% (27th)||78.5% (T-24th)|
The Coyotes did a lot right in last night's 6-2 victory over Edmonton. Mike Ribeiro, Radim Vrbata, and Shane Doan all registered multi-point games, and the defense held the Oilers to only one even strength goal. Perhaps more importantly, Phoenix tallied the first goal of the game, which is absolutely key to Phoenix's success over the years.
Despite the good things the team accomplished in Alberta, there are still some concerns that need to be addressed. Phoenix still lagged behind Edmonton in terms of overall shot attempts, though they did control the flow of the game when they needed to most. The first goal they surrendered was entirely due to a defensive zone turnover by David Schlemko, and they gave up a late period power play goal in the second which cut their lead to one. Had Phoenix been playing a tougher defensive team, the results could have been very different.
After a 3-0-2 start that may have given Flames fans hope that their team might surprise the league this season, Calgary has struggled mightily. Calgary has just three wins in their past twelve contests, and their defense has found its way to the bottom of the league.
There are a few bright spots on the horizon for Calgary though. They just took advantage of a three day break in the schedule, and Mark Giordano may be about to return from an ankle injury. Calgary's offense is more potent than many people realize, and as the second half of a road back-to-back, this will be a challenging game for Phoenix.
For more on the Calgary Flames, check out Matchsticks and Gasoline.
Keys to the Game
- Score First - As mentioned before, Phoenix is a much better team when they have the lead early. This will be exceptionally important on the second half of a road back-to-back, as their energy reserves will already be somewhat drained from last night's performance.
- Clean It All Up - Although the Coyotes played a much better game last night, there were still several avoidable mistakes that cost the team goals. Schlemko's turnover led to the first, and a too many men penalty led to the second. They need to continue to avoid those mental mistakes.
- Depth Support - David Moss and Jeff Halpern both recorded points in last night's contest. The Coyotes will stay in this game longer if they can get productive shifts from all four lines.
Players to Watch
|2013 - Keith Yandle||2||16||18||-6||12|
Yesterday Keith Yandle delighted Coyotes fans with a dazzling goal, nearly breaking Jeff Petry's ankles in the process. His role as a facilitator in the Coyotes' offense cannot be overstated.
|2013 - Jiri Hudler||7||16||23||-4||2|
The signing of Jiri Hudler to a four year contract a couple of years ago was a very underrated signing by Calgary. He currently is the team's points and assists leader and has provided a very potent scoring threat in Calgary's top six.
Projected Starting Goaltenders
|2013 - Thomas Greiss||5||202||2||1||8||2.38||111||103||.928||0|
When asked about Mike Smith's playing time, coach Dave Tippett mentioned that with the back-to-backs in December, Thomas Greiss would see the ice more often. This would appear to be one of those situations.
|2013 - Karri Ramo||10||520||3||4||28||3.23||254||226||.890||0|
The Calgary Flames have alternated between Karri Ramo, Joey MacDonald, and Reto Berra in net. So far, the returns have been mediocre at best. Calgary is still looking for someone to fill the shoes left by Mikka Kiprusoff's retirement.
For Calgary, captain Mark Giordano is a game-time decision after spending time on IR with an ankle injury. Dennis Wideman (hand), Sean Monahan (foot), and T.J. Galiardi (back) all remain on injured reserve. Curtis Glencross (knee), is also out until late December at the earliest.
Put on a pot of coffee for this one, as tonight's game starts at 8 PM. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and broadcast on KMVP 860 AM.