The Flames head out on the road for this quick back-to-back two-game set (next up after tonight is a date with the Golden Knights tomorrow in Sin City) after a 2-1-1 homestand, where they opened up with a 4-3 OT win over the Coyotes on Nov. 5 (more on that below), before pasting the Devils 5-2 on Nov. 7, falling 3-2 in overtime to the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues last Saturday, then winding up with a 3-1 edging by the Stars on Thursday. In that game, Calgary trailed 2-0 in the final frame when Sean Monahan scored his fifth of the season around the midway mark of the period to close the gap. But former Sharks captain Joe Pavelski iced it with an empty-netter - his second of the game - at 18:27. Playing in his first tilt in 10 days, Cam Talbot was tremendous between the pipes making 30 saves. His teammates lamented the lost opportunity to get the win for him. "I mean myself, personally, it hurts when he puts on a performance like that and makes so many key saves and gives us a chance when we probably shouldn't have had a chance after the first two periods," said Tkachuk. "He made some great stops. Some of the games he's come in, he's been our best player in some of those games. And on a night like tonight, all I wanted to do was be able to reward him, and the rest of the guys, same way, but we got find a way ... he worked so hard."
The Coyotes are certainly not Wild about Minnesota right now (see what we did there). Arizona is 2-2 in their last four games, the victories book-ended by losses to Minny: 4-3 in Glendale on Nov. 9 and 3-2 in St. Paul on Nov. 14. Kevin Fiala scored in the first period of the most recent outing but Garland tied it up at the 5:04 mark in the second. The Wild's Zach Parise (who assisted on the first tally) scored in the third before Lawson Crouse again knotted the game up. Jordan Greenway would score his first of the season at 12:11 to ice the win for the Wild. Inbetween those tilts, the Coyotes got a pair of shootout wins on the road against two NHL heavyweights: 4-3 over the Caps on Nov. 11 and 3-2 over St. Louis on Nov. 12. "There's winnable games in the sense where we're giving points away," said coach Rick Tocchet of the team's start. "But listen, it's been a good 20 (games), but there's a little bit more there; we need more from some guys. We need some people to make some plays for us at the right time. For the most part, it's been a pretty consistent effort from the guys." Garland - who's been impressibe to start the season, agrees: "I don't think anything's really missing. I just think we've got to get better. We're at the quarter point. If we keep getting better every day and come to work and do our job, then we should be fine."
3. US vs. THEM
The last time these two teams met it was a beauty finish. At least for the Flames and their fans. Arizona led 3-1 in the third thanks to goals from Clayton Keller, Christian Dvorak and Vinnie Hinostroza. Johnny Gaudreau had the homeside's lone marker. However, the Flames called upon their inner Comeback Kids and - in a performance that harkened back to their frequent final-frame heroics of the 2018-19 season - they rallied thanks to goals by by Tkachuk, on the powerplay, at 16:30, and then the tying tally off the stick of captain Mark Giordano at 17:19. This campaign's often hero Tkachuk won it with a scant four seconds left to play after a lengthy shift, capitilizing on some even-more tired Coyotes players trapped on the ice. No, 19, though, gave all the credit for the win to David Rittich, who made 34 stops on the night. "We really had no business, other than Ritter, winning that game in my opinion," said Tkachuk. "We played better in the third but in the first we played right into their hands, but they're a good hockey team. A really good hockey team. They're a different Coyotes team than people have seen in the past. ... They're hard to play against, they're frustrating to play against. They've got some great players and are getting awesome goaltending right now." ... Antti Raanta also had a big night between the pipes for his club, turning aside 39 of the 43 shots the Flames piled on him.
THIS: The Flames will begin their fourth back-to-back scenario of the season this afternoon in Arizona. Calgary is 1-2-0 in the first game of a back-to-back so far this season as their last win in this situation came on Nov. 2 in Columbus. The next back-to-back set for the Flames comes Dec. 9 and 10 when they play Colorado and Arizona ... THAT: Tkachuk, who was born in Scottsdale, Ari., comes into tonight with points in six of the last seven games. The 21-year-old has six goals and 10 points in the last seven games as he also leads the team in points with 20 (10G, 10A) in 21 outings this season. Tkachuk has a career six goals and six assists for 12 points in 12 meetings against the Coyotes … THE OTHER: The Flames have a record of 5-5-3 against Western Conference opponents this season and a record of 3-3-1 against the Pacific Division
5. PLAYERS TO WATCH
Flames: LW Johnny Gaudreau
Johnny Hockey has two goals and four points in his last four games, one of those, of course, coming against the Desert Dogs.
Coyotes: RW Conor Garland
The club's leading goal scorer has two tallies in his last two outings.