CALGARY, AB -- Separated by only two points, Thursday’s divisional match-up between the Calgary Flames and the Arizona Coyotes will be extremely important for both teams.
Coming off of a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks, the Coyotes will be trying to two games in a row for only the second time since the start of December.
With the way the the Flames have been playing, they will be in tough.
Having allowed only one goal in their last two games, the Flames defence has been rock solid to start January. The Coyotes high-powered offence will put them to the test.
With Shane Doan leading the charge, rookies Max Domi (10g, 28a) and Anthony Duclair (11g, 9a) have been had great starts to their careers, while fellow youngsters Mikkel Boedker (12g, 18a) and Tobias Rieder (8g, 15a) are having the best years of their careers.
That offence has totaled 110 goals on the season, good for 10th most goals for in the NHL. All of that is done despite registering the second fewest shots on goal per game with 26.9.
With possession being such an important part of the game, the Coyotes has put an importance on winning the draw and are currently second in the NHL with a 52.9 face-off win percentage. With Calgary rated the third-lowest in the league, it could effect the outcome of the game.
Even with a stellar offence, the ‘Yotes defence has not been as effective.
They trail only the Columbus Blue Jackets in the total number of goals allowed this year. Arizona has allowed opposing offences to rack up 123 goals in 39 games, or 3.15 per contest.
Shutting down the Flames star forwards will be a challenge for the Coyotes young defence.
BREAKING DOWN THE COYOTES
2015-16 record vs. the Flames: 1-0-0
2014-15 record vs. the Flames: 0-5-0
Notable Injuries: G Mike Smith, F Martin Hanzal, F Joe Vitale
Who’s HOT: Shane Doan
The 39-year old winger is having a resurgent season for the Coyotes. After posting 36 points in 2014-15, Doan is already two-thirds of the way to that same mark. Having netted 15 goals and 6 assists, the 20-year veteran is on pace for 57 points. One big reason for his high goal total has been his aptitude for scoring on the power play, where he has seven goals. In his past five games, Doan has scored seven goals and is a plus-four.
Honourable Mention: Oliver Ekman-Larrson
Already in his sixth NHL season, the 24-year old is off to his best season, statistically. With 10 goals and 16 assists in 39 games, the blueliner is on pace for a career-high 54 points. The Swede has amassed four points in his previous five games, including the game-winning goal on December 31st against the Winnipeg Jets.
Who’s NOT: John Scott
One could argue that being voted an All-Star Game Captain would constitute being ‘Hot’, however that is not the case with hulking winger John Scott. The 33-year-old, who is known more for fighting than scoring points, has only appeared in 11 games for the Coyotes this season and has only one point to show for it.