The Coyotes came into tonight’s game second in the Pacific. Eating a Guatemalan insanity pepper would make more sense than this division this season.
Still, they have similar parallels to last year’s Calgary Flames team. Mostly in the sense of their overachieving currently (coupled with the sad state of the division). Still, not to undermine the legitimate talent they have, which created an enjoyable game with a disappointing outcome for Flames fans.
I can’t believe the flames are going to lose with the coyotes playing one of the three tenors in net
— Tool Chesterley (@bookofloob) January 8, 2016
Without their All-Star captain, the Coyotes came to play and matched the Flames quite nicely. An unfortunate TJ Brodie penalty sent the ‘Yotes to the PP early on, in which the Flames’ penalty kill survived a shelling. To speak in platitudes: the Flames best penalty killer Karri Ramo showed up stopping Shane Doan on a sure goal.
Calgary would strike first as a Johnny Gaudreau powerplay marker would break the young all-star winger’s mini drought. However, an untimely Mason Raymond penalty sent the Coyote back to the man-advantage that resulted in Oliver Ekman-Larsson potting his 11th of the season.
During the intermission it’s likely John Scott studied replays and notes he had taken during the first period on how to play with Gaudreau. He also probably got a snack, probably a pocket-dog.
The second frame was a delicious cake, with layer upon layer of exchanged chances, and Karri Ramo highlight save sprinkles. Arizona started off the period with an exceptional fervency, dictating the majority of the first half. At that point, the pace of the period opened up giving the Flames some of their first real chances by the midway mark.
Again, Ramo came to bail out his team (despite a large volume of rebounds) including a miraculous save on Anthony Duclair late in the second. During the intermission, John Scott texted Gaudreau asking him about working on some fighting drills for the ASG. Gaudreau did not respond to his texts.
Some concern at the beginning of the third period as Dougie Hamilton wasn’t on the bench or played for quite some time. Eventually he came back, appearing perfectly fine. Unfortunately early on the Coyotes would strike again as Stefan Elliot’s third of the season would beat Ramo to make it 2-1.
The Flames comeback would not happen despite some late pushes as the Coyotes strengthened position in the Pathetic Division. They now hold a three point lead over the Canucks with 44 now.
All statistics are 5v5 and are pulled from Natural Stat Trick. Regular ol’ boxscore here.
WHY THE FLAMES LOST
Screening and tipping in pucks is a big one. Again, an underlying aspect that goes under discussed is how easily it is to get space or screen a Flames goalie. Both goals against Ramo were examples of this. Plus Louis Domingue put on a stellar performance too.
Other concerns: errant passes that don’t connect or go anywhere (lookin’ at you Mason Raymond), lackluster shot attempt differential (Arizona was 53.76% CF at even strength and outshot the Flames 33-26), and turnovers/giveaways.
Karri Ramo because he put on a performance tonight. .939 SV% in all situations, .962 at even strength, and gave us a catalog of great saves. It’s hard to be bothered with his emergence as the de-facto guy in net if he keeps putting on these levels of performance.
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE OPPOSITION
- Max Domi and Anthony Duclair have such fantastic skill and speed. By the time Dylan Strome makes this team (next season or depending on how Erie performs), Arizona will be a good spot. Plus you can’t forget names (that everyone should learn) that are coming like Christian Dvorak, Conor Garland, and Nick Merkley.
- Louis Domingue played a hell of a game tonight. The former fifth-round selection in 2010 has stepped up admirably with Mike Smith being injured. He was flawless at even strength and posted a .962 SV% overall tonight.
- Oliver Ekman-Larsson is pretty under-appreciated at times. We’re living in an era of exceptionally talented defensemen where most teams have one or two or even three (see: Nashville). Tonight he was pretty great, jumping up in the rush, generating offence, and being sound in his own end. The broadcast team made note of it several times and it’s hard to ignore what he is.
The Sharks are in town next on Monday. Another of the Trashcific’s teams looking to steal points while jockeying for a playoff spot. Calgary closes out their mini four-game homestand against the Panthers next Wednesday as the Fancy Cats are currently on an 11-game winning streak.
Tomorrow morning you’ll have the post-game embers on tonight’s loss. Sleep easy, sports fans.