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Flames torch the Coyotes for their sixth straight win

by TY PILSON @typilson /

Two wins in 24 hours against two of the best teams in the Western Conference.

To be fair, a pair of the top clubs in the league right now.

On the road, nonetheless.

Not too shabby.

The Flames followed up a 5-4 overtime win in Denver Monday night with an impressive 5-2 victory over the Coyotes in Glendale on Tuesday.


Video: Lots of wins - lots of milestones for the boys




COMING SOON: Game Over with Brendan Parker

COMING SOON: Post-Game Interview




Calgary's win streak is now six straight, and they remain undefeated under interim coach Geoff Ward.

Perhaps most importantly during the recent run of a half-dozen triumphs is that the Flames keep getting better.

They are rolling four lines, getting offensive contributions across the board, playing with pace and speed, turning in solid play in their zone, and continuing - as has been the case all season - to get great goaltending.

Monday they managed to edge a high-flying, high-octane offensive team in the Avs, going blow-for-blow and coming out on top.

Tuesday they faced a much different style of opponent, the stingiest defensive team in the league this season, coming into the game allowing only 2.28 goals per outing (the Islanders were second at 2.38).

To complicate matters, they were without Matthew Tkachuk, who sat out with an upper-body injury he suffered against Colorado.

So, in went Zac Rinaldo, leading to more line shuffling - but the Flames didn't miss a beat.

Rinaldo tallied once and collected an assist, while Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Milan Lucic also scored. Cam Talbot got the start, turning aside 46 shots in an impressive outing for him in his just his eighth start of the season.

He has now won two straight.

As is frequently the case, a good chance at one end often leads to a goal at the other.

That was situation early in the first period.

Michael Grabner looked set to capitilize on a broken play, getting the puck all alone in Calgary's zone with no one near him and skating across the crease with patience, waiting out Cam Talbot and firing the puck around him towards the open cage.

Unfortunately for Grabner - and the hometown crowd who had already started rising out of their seats - the puck went off the inside of the far post and out of harm's way.

Moments later as the Coyotes tried to skate it out of their zone, Rinaldo caused a turnover and made a quick pass to Frolik who made no mistake in tight, going forehand-backhand to beat Antti Raanta for his third goal of the season at 2:11.

It was his second goal in as many games.


Tweet from @NHLFlames: Rhino with the setup, and Fro does the rest. #CGYvsARI | #Flames


Gaudreau got close to squeezing a backhand past Raanta a short time later.

No matter, he simply made good on his next chance.

Derek Ryan won a faceoff right into the tape of Gaudreau in the slot, the winger taking the puck and loading and firing it in one motion, the puck going high short-side past a partially screened Raanta.

Just 4:03 in and it was 2-0. 


Tweet from @NHLFlames: Did anyone get the license plate number?! 🚀#CGYvsARI | #Flames


Mikael Backlund continued his strong play of late and almost made it 3-0. He took a pass while parked in front of Raanta with his back to him, turning and faking wide before trying to snap it five-hole, the Coyotes 'tender snapping his pads together for the stop.

It wasn't just the offence that sparkled in the first, as Talbot also stood tall.

He made 15 stops, one of the best coming when Nick Schmaltz skated behind the net and fired the puck back to a trailing Christian Dvorak, Talbot spinning around and getting his left arm on a great shot.

Rinaldo made it 3-0 in the second period with a goal that earned a perfect 10 for style points. Frolik whipped a pass out from the corner to him and after calling for the puck with his stick in the air, he snapped it home as he slide on one knee for his second of the season at the 5:18 mark.


Tweet from @NHLFlames: One knee. One time. @RinaldoZac BURIES it. #CGYvsARI | #Flames


Then it was time for Monday night's overtime hero Monahan to get in on the act.

Only made sense as he had scored in three straight games coming into Tuesday's tilt. 

Travis Hamonic made a long stretch pass that Backlund made an absolutely ridiculously good tip pass while south of the blue-line up ahead to a streaking Monahan, who snapped it up high short-side.


Tweet from @NHLFlames: A pass like that belongs in a frame. #CGYvsARI | #Flames 


Jakob Chychrun finally got the homeside on the board with just 10.6 seconds left in the middle stanza.

In the third, the Flames looked tired at times. For good reason. Along with the two games in 24 hours, they also played Saturday.

But as good teams do, they found a way to hold the fort and get the two points.

Rinaldo drew a penalty and on the ensuing powerplay, Lucic made good for his third goal in four games at 14:32 to put it away.

With 31.9 second to play, Phil Kessel scored on a powerplay.


Video: CGY@ARI: Lucic capitalizes on Andersson's feed



Rinaldo on team dynamics:

"I think every shift, we're coming off the ice and we're talking about our shift. Little things that we can do better, little corrections that we can make and also give each other positive feedback. 'Good job' here, 'good job' there. But also correcting each other at the same time. It's not like we're busting each others' balls so someone feels like you're nagging him, but it's that positive reinforcement all the time and I think that has generated onto the ice. The proof is in the pudding. It's working for us right now." 


On the team rolling right now:

"You work hard and you eventually get rewarded for working hard. Things open up and things become a little easier. That's what's happening right now. Our whole team has worked so hard to get to this point, and the floodgates are kind of opening for us right now, and that's a really good feeling" 


Video: "Our whole team has worked so hard"


 Talbot on his night:

"It's huge, not only for me, but for the team moving forward so they can feel confident in me whenever I'm in there. So, these last two games and last night were big statement games for us coming into Colorado and then tonight. It brought us two points out of first place in our division, so we needed these wins on the road in two tough barns, and against two really good teams. The way we've been playing, I'm a product of what's in front of me."


Video: "It's huge for not only me, but the team"


Frolik on the win:

"We had a good effort there. Rhino brings a lot of energy, obviously. He made a great play on the first goal - a good forecheck, good stick, and he passed it to me and it was a big goal for our club. We were talking about having a good start, and we were up 2-0 early and I think we carried it on the whole game and had the game under control." 


Video: "It's an important stretch for us."


Ward on his club:

"Guys have done a good job - a really good road trip here for us. But I think more importantly, the guys are getting more and more confidence in our process and how we need to play. You can see the buy-in on the bench - they're playing for each other. These were two well-earned wins for us. Our goaltending continues to be good - both guys gave us good games. And the thing I like about it most is that everybody who was in our lineup in these two games made an impact on the hockey games and had a hand in us winning them."


Video: "A really good road trip here for us."



Monahan, worth noting, is tied with Joe Mullen (388) for the 15th most points in Flames franchise history ... Coyotes forward Kessel was playing in his 803rd straight game. Quite the impressive Ironman streak ... This Flames improved to .500 against Pacific Division opponents (5-5-1) ... Matthew Phillips was called up from the Stockton Heat where he's been on a tear this season (click here for more info). Check out his 1-on-1 interview with Flames TV host Brendan Parker below.


Video: "That was really cool, a really special experience." 




Tweet from @NHLFlames: Here are your starters against the Coyotes! 🔥#CGYvsARI | #Flames | @Schneiders


The trios, d-pairings and goalie to start last night:


Andrew Mangiapane - Elias Lindholm - Tobias Rieder

Dillon Dube - Sean Monahan - Mikael Backlund

Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Johnny Gaudreau

Zac Rinaldo - Mark Jankowski - Michael Frolik



Mark Giordano - Rasmus Andersson

Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic

TJ Brodie - Michael Stone



Cam Talbot

David Rittich



The Flames head back to the comfy confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome for a four-game homestand. First up, it's the Maple Leafs on Thursday (click here for tickets), before a rare matinee tilt when they host the Hurricanes at 2 p.m. (click here for tickets). Next week, the Penguins come calling Tuesday (click here for tickets), followed by a visit with the Canadiens Thursday (click here for tickets).

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