That's always our mindset. We set some standards and now we put ourselves in the situation to be successful. You saw practice. Guys are jumping; very good practice. - Bob Hartley
GLENDALE, AZ -- Two sounds a whole heck of a lot better than one to Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley.
The only thing standing in the way of the Flames returning to Calgary with two wins on a three-game road trip is the Arizona Coyotes.
“That’s always our mindset,” Hartley said. “We set some standards and now we put ourselves in the situation to be successful. You saw practice. Guys are jumping; very good practice. It doesn’t mean anything by the time the puck will drop tomorrow night but it’s just who we have and who we are. Those guys work hard. I can always count on some things.
“The effort is going to be there. It’s going to be a great game.”
Despite a late push, the Flames dropped Tuesday’s opener against the Anaheim Ducks before rebounding to shut out the San Jose Sharks.
The final pair of points is up for grabs in the Pacifiic Division swing Saturday against the Coyotes.
“You know what to expect,” centre Sean Monahan said. “We’ve already played them. They’ve got some skilled guys and they’re strong down the middle, especially in the faceoff circle. It’s going to be a battle and that’s what we’re ready for.
"You've got to win on the road and I think tomorrow's an important game for us. I think we're going to bear down and do whatever we can to get those two points."
Calgary claimed a 5-3 win over Arizona at Scotiabank Saddledome on Nov. 13 courtesy a pair from Paul Byron. The rematch is set for ‘Hockey Night in Canada’.
It won’t take long for the rubber match, either. It comes Tuesday in the form of a back-to-back, home-and-home set for the Flames.
“We have Arizona basically three times in two weeks,” Hartley said. “This is the second match-up and we’re approaching this basically as a back-to-back.
“I love back-to-backs or home-and-homes, whatever you want to call it. It brings the emotions up. I think that it’s what builds rivalries. At the same time, we’re stuck in such a tough conference that we’re just striving for two points. We don’t really look at our rivals. We look at our mission.”
Hartley isn’t sure who he’ll have at his disposal Saturday. His lineup has yet to be determined.
While Sean Monahan skated solely with Curtis Glencross and David Jones and Josh Jooris took repetitions exclusively with Johnny Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler in Friday’s skate, Sven Baertschi and Michael Ferland split time with Paul Byron and Markus Granlund.
Brian McGrattan and Corban Knight subbed in and out with Lance Bouma and Brandon Bollig, too.
“We didn’t make any decisions yet,” he said. “We had four guys on one line and four other guys on the other line. There are no decisions. Decisions are getting tougher and tougher to make because guys are playing well. It’s pretty tough.”
There’s a method to Hartley’s decision making, though.
“You can ask Deryk Engelland,” started Hartley, who scratched the defenceman against the Sharks. “I went to him and said ‘Deryk, you’re not playing but you didn’t do anything wrong’. I just want to keep everybody on their toes. When someone has a real bad game or the attitude is no good or they’re not working, trust me, that makes our job so much more easier. That’s not what we’re facing.
“We’re facing guys that want to perform, they want to do well for the organization and I give them credit. They makes our lives and our decisions real tough.”
Knight is ready to go if called upon despite a heavy travel schedule of late.
The 24-year-old was reassigned to the Adirondack Flames on Wednesday in order for Calgary to activate David Jones off the injured reserve. After Devin Setoguchi cleared waivers and was assigned to Adirondack on Thursday, Knight was recalled.
“It was a pretty crazy couple hours there just kind of figuring everything out and getting phone calls and stuff like that,” Knight said. “It’s always nice to get the call and know I’m coming back. It was all worth it in the end.
“I just got on the commercial flight, got the call, got another flight and came back here. It was nice getting that call.”
The move was necessary with NHL rosters limited to 23.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving explained the process to Knight prior to his departure.
“Corban went on a rollercoaster the past couple of days,” Hartley said. “It’s the business. While [Setoguchi] is going to get his game back in Adirondack and we needed to recall a guy. Knight, sometimes it’s unfortunate but you get stuck in a numbers game with the 23-man roster. That was basically the move that we needed to do and now he’s back. He understands it.
“We talk with the players and Brad always sits with the players going back down. It’s always well explained. We’re trying to take away confusion.”
It helped Knight prepare for a strange 24 hours.
“Brad kind of told me what was going on and what to expect in the next couple hours,” Knight said. “It wasn’t a complete shock. I had a good idea of what was going to happen. You never know what’s going to happen until it does happen.”
One decision has been made, though. After a 32-save shutout at San Jose’s expense, Karri Ramo will earn his second consecutive start.
Hartley liked the effort from both his goaltender and the team in front of him on Wednesday.
“I don’t know if we allowed San Jose to get a rebound,” Hartley said. “Number one, Karri was very good. He caught lots of pucks and that obviously neglects the rebounds. Our forwards and our d-men did a good job of boxing out, keeping them to the outside. It’s not an easy team to keep on the outside or shut down. We did a good job.
"Karri will get the start tomorrow night.”