Calgary Flames Game Day 42: The Flames go to college against Arizona (7pm MT)

Photo credit:Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
5 months ago
Brought to you by odds site Betway!
After getting back to .500 with a win on Tuesday over the Ottawa Senators, the Calgary Flames (18-18-5, 41 points) begin the second half of their regular season with a unique challenge when they head to scenic Tempe, Arizona to face the Arizona Coyotes (20-17-2, 42 points) at Arizona State University’s Mullett Arena. These two teams play twice in the next six days, and the points involved could be the difference for each team between making the post-season… or missing out entirely.
The broadcast begins at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. The Flames opened as -120 favourites against the Coyotes on Betway.

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Huberdeau – Lindholm – Sharangovich
Zary – Kadri – Pospisil
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Greer – Ruzicka – Dube
Hanifin – Tanev
Andersson – Weegar
Oesterle – DeSimone
We’re projecting Jacob Markstrom to start in net, backed up by Dan Vladar. Projected extras look to be Walker Duehr, Yan Kuznetsov and Dennis Gilbert. Gilbert is on the road trip, but as he works through the concussion protocol he’s not expected to play on the trip. It sounds like Dillon Dube rotates back in after being scratched against the Senators.
It’s game 950 for captain Mikael Backlund, and he passes Mark Giordano into second spot on the Flames’ all-time games played leaderboard. Only 269 more games to catch Jarome Iginla for top spot!
So here’s the deal with the Flames: it’s still possible they could climb into the playoffs. They have been above .500 for six days so far this season, and they’ve been wobbling around that level for much of the season – they were significantly below that level for much of October. When you correct for points percentage, they’re four points behind Nashville for the final wild-card spot, and would need to climb over St. Louis, Arizona and Seattle to dislodge the Predators. Is it doable? Sure! Is it likely? It would require a team that’s wobbled up and down around that .500 mark for the better part of 41 games to suddenly go on a bit of a run.
Once again: if the Flames keep this game at five-on-five and get four lines going, they’re a tough team to play against. When they get too bogged down in special teams time and they disrupt their even strength flow, they can get into trouble.

The Coyotes

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Keller – McBain – Schmaltz
Maccelli – Bjugstad – Crouse
Zucker – Cooley – Guenther
Carcone – Kerfoot – O’Brien
Moser – Durzi
Dermott – Dumba
Stecher – Kesselring
We’re projecting Karel Vejmelka to start in net, backed up by Connor Ingram. Their projected extras look to be Josh Brown and Juuso Valimaki. Jason Zucker returns after serving three game suspension.
The Coyotes beat Boston in overtime on Tuesday, looking quite strong against one of the NHL’s top teams. That win broke a three game losing streak, and that sort of captures the duality of the Coyotes. They have a lot of interesting players and their team concept and identity seems like it’s finally coming together. But they’re a streaky team, capable of being very good or very bad… sometimes doing both in the same game.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Oliver Kylington and Dennis Gilbert.
The Coyotes are without Bryan Little, Jacub Voracek, Shea Weber, Barrett Hayton, Vladislav Kolyachonok, Travis Boyd and Jason Zucker.

The numbers

41 (.500)Points (%)42 (.538)

Head to head

This is the first of three meetings between the Flames and Coyotes this season, and the Flames’ only visit to Mullett Arena this year. They meet again in Calgary on Tuesday, and then meet one more time in Calgary during the final week of the regular season.

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