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Mike Smith shutout Calgary Flames and leads Arizona Coyotes to 5-0 victory

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The Coyotes avoid being swept for the season by the Flames.

NHL: Arizona Coyotes at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Thank the hockey gods that I sent Chad Johnson to free agency from my fantasy team. Heck, I’ve even de-listed Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan now too. It wasn’t fun having them go hot and cold on me all season long, teasing me with success and then crippling me with disappointment. Is that what it feels like to be a Flames fan this season?

Just as Calgary build momentum to move themselves into a playoff position, they’re forced to take a 4 day break. Their first opponent back from the break, Arizona, a team the Flames have already disposed of with ease 4 times this season. A great opponent to reignite their momentum against, right?

Wrong. Unfortunately for the Flames, Mike Smith and the Arizona Coyotes are a far better team than they were last time Calgary met them, and tonight it showed as Smith and Christian “Dvo” Dvorak lead the Desert Dogs to a cruise control 5-0 shutout of the Flames.

Scoring Summary

First Period

1-0 Arizona - Martin Hanzal wins an offensive zone face-off back to Max Domi before heading straight to the net to screen Chad Johnson. Domi then lays the puck off for Radim Vrbata who waits only for a moment before wristing the puck toward the net where it bounces off Hanzal’s stick and in to open the scoring for the night. Assists to Vrbata and Max Domi at 6:45.

Second Period

2-0 Arizona - After an excellent defensive play, the Coyotes come back to other way with a rush. Christian Dvorak sends Brendan Perlini into the zone with the puck before receiving the puck back from in the slot as Shane Doan heads straight to the net. With time and his eyes on the net Dvorak picks his spot and shoots the puck into the top left corner over Johnson’s glove. Assisted by Brendan Perlini at 2:38.

3-0 Arizona - Ryan White dumps the puck into the offensive zone corner where Jordan Martinook comes in with speed, out muscles Dennis Wideman and picks up the rebound from the boards in front the net to scores top-shelf on Chad Johnson. Assists to White and Connor Murphy at 4:04.

“Look good, feel good, play good.” - Martinook to Tyson Nash pre-game.

4-0 Arizona - Playing the puck to himself off the boards to get around one Calgary defender, Dvorak drives deep into the offensive zone before passing wide across the ice to find Luke Schenn jumping in on the play. Schenn then strolls in, dangles to pull Johnson out of position and then backhands the puck toward the goal which bounces in off Ryan White’s skate and Deryk Engelland’s stick. Assists to Schenn and Dvorak at 11:08.

Third Period

5-0 Arizona - After passing the puck to Doan waiting on the offensive blue line, Dvorak rushes down the middle and receives the biscuit back from Doan and heads straight to work on Brian Elliott. Elliott makes the initial save by Dvorak manages to find his own rebound and then slips the puck through Elliot’s five-hole for his second of the night. Assists to Doan and Schenn at 2:12.

Three Answers

1. Can the Coyotes keep it in regulation? After the first period, the Flames never seemed interested in the game and it was apparent the Coyotes would win in regulation. Everything went right for Arizona tonight, except maybe the number of penalties they took - but even then the penalty kill was perfect, killing all five penalties they faced.

2. Will the offense continue? The offense did indeed continue, to the beautiful tune of 5 goals. Not a lot more you can ask for from the Coyotes’ offensive corps right now, just keep scoring consistently.

3. Can the Coyotes match the desperate Flames? The Coyotes ran over the Flames. If a non-hockey fan were to have watched the game they would have had a hard time guessing that Arizona had nothing to play for while the Flames were meant to be playing for a playoff position.

Players of the Game

Arizona - Mike Smith - Smith shutout the Flames with 36 saves on 36 Calgary shots. More importantly, he made 19 of those saves in the first period when the game was still up for grabs and when Arizona were making an abundance of mistakes.

Calgary - Calgary’s fans - Kudos to the 18,486 fans who made out to the game tonight and to those who stayed for the whole game as the Flames play amounted to nothing.

Paw Prints

  • For more on the Calgary Flames, check out Matchsticks & Gasoline.
  • Lawson Crouse did not travel with the team to Canada after suffering a lower body injury. He did not play against Calgary tonight, will miss the game in Edmonton but may rejoin the team in Los Angeles.
  • Josh Jooris played in Crouse’s place, suiting up for the first time since January 31st against the Kings. Jooris took the center position on the 4th line, moving Jordan Martinook to the wing. Against the Flames tonight Jooris finished with a +/- of +1 and 4 shots on goal in 14:31 minutes of ice time.
  • Joining the unhealthily scratched Crouse were Peter Holland and rookie Jakob Chychrun who is being given some extra rest time in his first NHL season.
  • During the 2nd intermission, the Calgary swapped goaltender Chad Johnson out for Brian Elliott. Johnson finished his night making 19 saves on 23 shots for a .826 save percentage while Elliott finished with .889 save percentage, saving 8 of 9 shots he faced.
  • 11 different Coyotes registered a point tonight. Meanwhile Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Luke Schenn finished the night each with a +/- of +4.
  • Given that Mike Smith got the start against the Flames, it is likely we will see Louis Domingue play tomorrow night against the Oilers. It will be the first start for Domingue since taking to the ice for a 4-3 loss against the Minnesota Wild on January 19th.

Looking Ahead

The Coyotes will remain in the Great White North to face the growing Edmonton Oilers immediately tomorrow (Tuesday) night. Puck drop is 7:00pm Arizona time and can be viewed on Fox Sports Arizona or tuned into on ESPN Phoenix 620 AM.