It wasn’t the cleanest win, but the Arizona Coyotes left Edmonton last night with two points. The Coyotes played a fairly inconsistent game, looking solid for stretches of time and utterly outplayed by the opposition at others. The Edmonton Oilers are currently the top team in the Pacific, and games like last night show just how dangerous they can be.
Arizona did get some offense during the game, mostly due to some positive single efforts. Both Carl Soderberg and Michael Grabner scored unassisted, largely by sticking with the play and seemingly willing the puck past their opponents. Derek Stepan’s goal in overtime was definitely a team effort though, as he was set up beautifully by Nick Schmaltz.
If last night’s third period is any indication, the Coyotes may be in trouble tonight. The Coyotes were okay in the first two, but it seemed like they gave up all control in the third. They had difficulties clearing the zone, connecting with passes, and getting pucks in deep. And while the Oilers were able to get the tying goal in the third, they very easily could have taken the lead at numerous points. Darcy Kuemper was huge last night, and with tonight being the second half of a back-to-back Antti Raanta may need to be strong tonight.
After leading the Pacific Division last season, the Calgary Flames are struggling a bit this season. Through 17 games they are 8-7-2 and are one of three teams in the Pacific who currently have a negative goal differential, the other two being the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings.
Calgary is not scoring as much as they did last season. Last season their top three goal scorers were Johnny Gaudreau (36), Sean Monahan (34), and Matthew Tkachuk (34). And while Tkachuk is scoring at a good pace with 7 goals in 17 games, Gaudreau and Monahan are currently sitting at 3 goals apiece.
The Flames will be without their biggest offseason addition tonight, as Milan Lucic was suspended for two games for roughing Columbus Blue Jackets forward Kole Sherwood. How you feel about this is probably has a lot to do with how you feel about Lucic as a player and the trade that brought him to Calgary.
Players to Watch
Arizona: Carl Soderberg - Soderberg had the Coyotes second goal against the Oilers, and has been playing extremely well all season. He is 4-4-8 on the season and has been solid defensively as well.
Calgary: Elias Lindholm - Lindholm currently leads the Flames with 10 goals and he has been very productive as of late. He has a seven-game point streak going with goals in all but two of those games.
Arizona: Brad Richardson (upper body), Niklas Hjalmarsson (leg), Jordan Oesterle (possible, head)
Calgary: Milan Lucic (suspension), Austin Czarnik (lower body), Juuso Valimaki (knee)
Tonight’s game in Calgary will be on Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports 910 AM.