Overtime against the Coyotes showed that the Calgary Flames’ youngsters can hold their own against top young talent

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
5 months ago
The 2023-24 season series between the Calgary Flames and the Arizona Coyotes is two-thirds of the way finished after a beautiful wrist shot off the stick of Yegor Sharangovich sent the puck flying over goaltender Connor Ingram’s shoulder, hit the back bar, and ended the game in overtime in favour of the home team. After a 6-2 drubbing by the Flames at Mullett Arena, where some of our awesome watchers, listeners, readers, and podcasters were in attendance, the Coyotes came to the Saddledome with an eye for a win.
The Yotes were able to get on the board after a scoreless first period with a goal from Sean Durzi in the second, and in the third, they went up 2-0 after Clayton Keller and Durzi connected on a passing play and Durzi threw the puck to the front of the net, where it ricocheted off Logan Cooley’s skate into the net.
Shortly thereafter, the Flames were able to come back thanks to two goals in quick succession, the first one coming from Blake Coleman (because why wouldn’t it?) and the second coming from Nazem Kadri off a great rush and pass by Martin Pospisil.
However, as much fun as the third period was (not so much the first two), I’m not here to give you the full recap. Instead, I want to focus on what went down in overtime.
The Coyotes and Flames both have some impressive young players in their lineups every night. For Arizona, Keller is the go-to guy along with Mattias Macceli, but the additions of Logan Cooley and Dylan Guenther have been tremendous for their offence. As for Calgary, the big name is Connor Zary, who is putting himself firmly in the Calder Trophy race with the amount of scoring he’s doing and the kind of charge he has taken in Ryan Huska’s system. Another name, however, is Pospisil, who, on the same line as Zary, has become a fan-favourite not only for the physical attributes and fearlessness he possesses but also for the sneaky skill he has in his arsenal as well.
In the overtime period, we were able to see all of those players, but arguably the most exciting sequence of the extra frame was the minute and 20 seconds when Zary, Pospisil, Cooley, Guenther, and Keller were all on the ice battling it out to be the hero of the contest for the respective squads.
It’s unfortunate that this sequence didn’t result in a goal, seeing as it’s the epitome of what NHL fans want from overtime and why many folks believe the overtime period should be extended from five minutes to 10 minutes and eliminate the shootout. However, despite that fact, it shows not only how much the league has changed but also how impactful the young players have been on both of these teams and how impactful they can be on NHL rosters at such a young age.
The Flames have made an effort this season to become younger, and it’s hard to find a fan that doesn’t appreciate it in some capacity. Matt Coronato is tearing up the AHL and will be back in the NHL before we know it; Dustin Wolf has been called up to replace the injured Jacob Markstrom with the hope he will get more chances to prove himself. Additionally, Jakob Pelletier is waiting in the wings as he recovers from injury; Yan Kuznetsov made his NHL debut this year, although he still has a little ways to go, and, of course, there are the two mainstays currently in the NHL in Pospisil and Zary.
The confidence surrounding the team is evident. There is a newfound swagger amongst the group on the ice, which translates off the ice as well, and an influx of young talent can certainly help that. We know how good Zary and Pospisil have been. But that short stint of an overtime period showcased how dynamic they can be and how well they can play at both ends of the ice against extremely talented young players, and most importantly, it demonstrates a trust from the head coach that could not be found last season or the season prior.
A bright future is ahead, and in an ever-evolving NHL, having players like many of those in the Flames pipeline, plus Zary and Pospisil, who are fast, creative, and smart players who can be above average in all three zones, is a great way to keep up.

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