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5 THINGS - FLAMES @ COYOTES

The Flames look to finish the trip off right and extend their season-long winning streak to six

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

FLAMES (16-12-4) at COYOTES (18-10-4)

7 p.m. MT | TV: Sportsnet One | RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN

2019-20 Season Series: 1-1-0

 

Leading Scorers:

Flames:

Points - Matthew Tkachuk (27)
Goals - Elias Lindholm (14)

Coyotes:

Points - Nick Schmaltz (22)
Goals - Conor Garland (12)

Special Teams:

Flames:

PP - 18.0% (20th) / PK - 84.4% (9th)

Coyotes:

PP - 20.4% (11th) / PK - 81.1% (16th)

Advanced Stats:

Flames:    

Shot Attempts: 51.41% (9th)
High-Danger Chances: 49.17% (19th)

Coyotes:

Shot Attempts: 47.05% (29th)
High-Danger Chances: 47.82% (25th)

 

Video: Flames go for six straight wins

 


1. US

The Flames are coming off what was arguably their biggest win of the season last night, dumping the Colorado Avalanche 5-4 in overtime.

Sean Monahan scored the OT winner, while David Rittich made 28 stops as the Flames extended their season-long winning streak to five.

Derek Ryan , Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Michael Frolik added singles for the visitors, while Mark Giordano , Dillon Dube and Elias Lindholm each had three assists.

Tied at two entering the third period, the Flames got goals 1:27 apart early in the frame to take a commanding 4-2 lead, but the locals roared back with a pair to send the game to overtime.

In a wildly entertaining OT session, Giordano came up with a key block, Dube toe-dragged Nathan MacKinnon before making a stellar feed, and Monahan did the rest with a wicked snipe on a breakaway to give the Flames a massive two points in the standings.

At 16-12-4, the Flames have climbed their way back into a Pacific playoff spot and are only four points back of the Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers for the division lead.

Game on. Season on.

"I don't think we panicked at all," Monahan said of the Avs' late push. "Those are the types of games you've got to enjoy and you've got to find ways to win. That's how you grow as a team and like I said, everybody stepped up and played a role. You can tell by the scoresheet, there were a lot of guys on it.

"We're having fun right now and we're enjoying it. When you come to the rink and you're working hard for the guy next to you, you see smiles on guys' faces - that goes a long way and that's a big part of it."

The Flames will not hold a morning skate prior to this evening's contest, but it seems likely that Cam Talbot will get the start in goal, with this being a back-to-back scenario.

Talbot is 2-5-0 on the year, and sports an .895 save percentage and a 3.20 goals-against average.

 

Video: "It's always nice ... to get another start quickly"

 

2. THEM

The Coyotes fired 47 shots, overcame a two-goal deficit and beat the Chicago Blackhawks in a shootout, 4-3, on Sunday at the United Center.

Carl Soderberg had a goal and an assist, and Christian Fischer and Conor Garland scored singles for Desert Dogs, who went 3-1-0 on a four-game road trip.

Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves for his third straight win, while former Blackhawk Nick Schmaltz pumped home the shootout winner.

"Resilient," Kuemper told Alex Kinkopf of ArizonaCoyotes.com. "It's never easy to come back from a start like that, especially in a building like this. They have a lot of offensive weapons and they were ready to go, they got out to an early lead. We just kept with it, didn't get fazed and were able to get back in it."

The Coyotes enter the night tied with the Oilers for first in the Pacific Division. They're currently the division's best road team, compiling an impressive, 11-4-3 mark away from Gila River Arena, but have been average on home ice, winning only seven of their first 14 tilts in the desert.

The Coyotes have gotten great goaltending from Kuemper and Antti Raanta this year, leading the NHL with a combined save percentage of .929.

Kuemper, in particular, has been otherworldly, posting a .935 save percentage, along with a miniscule, 1.96 goals-against average.

Phil Kessel is beginning to heat up with two goals and four points in his last four outings, but it's Arizona's youth movement that's leading the charge offensively. Schmaltz, Clayton Keller and Christian Dvorak are 1-2-3 in team scoring, with all three players 23 and under.

 

3. US VS. THEM

This is the third of four meetings between these two teams, and the final game to be played at Gila River Arena this year.

The Flames opened the four-game set with a 4-3 overtime win over the Coyotes back on Nov. 5. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice - including the overtime winner - as the Flames rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the final five minutes.

Ten days later, the Flames dropped a 3-0 decision in Glendale. Darcy Kuemper stopped all 37 shots he faced, while Lawson Crouse, Derek Stepan, Carl Soderberg supplied the offence.

The Flames are 6-4-0 in their last 10 regular-season meetings and hold an all-time record of 98-77-20-7 against the 'Yotes, including a 39-45-11-5 mark on the road.

 

4. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER

THIS: With his two-point (1G, 1A) effort last night, Matthew Tkachuk surpassed the 200-point plateau in his NHL career. In doing so, he became the ninth U.S.-born player in NHL history to record 200 regular-season points before his 22nd birthday - which he is set to celebrate on Wednesday. He now has 83 goals and 117 assists in 256 NHL games. ... THAT: The Flames are in the midst of their fifth back-to-back scenario of the season following last night's win in Colorado. The Flames will play in another back-to-back later this month, whe n they travel to Dallas and Minnesota on Dec. 22 and 23. Calgary has a record of 1-3-0 this season in the second game of a back-to-back situation. The Flames will play a total of 10 back-to-backs this year. ... THE OTHER: Interim head coach Geoff Ward now owns the franchise record for the most consecutive wins to start a head-coaching tenure with five.

 

5. PLAYERS TO WATCH

Flames - Dillon Dube

The kid's on a heater! Dube has points in four straight games and has posted a multi-point effort in back-to-back tilts. Since being recalled on Nov. 17, the 21-year-old has seven points (3G, 4A) in 10 games. During this four-game-point-streak, the youngster has two goals and six points.

"It's great," Dube said following Monday's victory - after getting his first-ever NHL overtime shift. "It's nice to be trusted. You want to make the right plays when you're put out there, so you've got to play for the team and play the right way, so I was just trying to be good defensively, make the reads, and lucky enough, Mony got a chance and put it in."

Coyotes - Conor Garland

The 23-year-old lead the Coyotes with 12 goals and has 25 - total - in his first 79 NHL games dating back to last year.

Garland - a fifth-round pick of the Coyotes back in 2015 - is a graduate of the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL, where the Flames' 2019 first-round selection Jakob Pelletier currently plays.

In his final two seasons with the Wildcats (from 2014 to 2016), Garland led the club in scoring, potting 74 goals and 257 points in only 129 games.

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