The Coyotes are fighting for a playoff spot and the Flames are fighting for their jobs so, despite the fact that one of these teams is completely out of the playoff picture, you just knew this was going to be a hard fought battle from start to finish.
The Flames were looking to rebound from a tough loss to their bitter rivals, the Vancouver Canucks, where they played a very solid game and put forth a good effort for 52 minutes before the wheels fell off. The Flames got off to another poor start, once again allowing a goal before the game was 5 minutes old, but were able to put it behind them and tie the game up before the end of the first.
The Flames would take the lead in the second and play a very close game until desperation kicks in for the Coyotes and Yandle would score the tying goal with 5 minutes left in the third. Then, when a shootout seemed all but a certainty, Mark Giordano gets the game winner to give the Flames another win, and put some more doubt in the playoff hopes of the Coyotes.
The Game Skinny
Tonight’s game was probably the most entertaining Flames vs. Coyotes game I’ve watched in a while. While the score looked like something you would see in a game with these 2 teams, it was more due to the fact that both teams played some solid defense and got some timely saves from their goaltenders, as opposed to both teams struggling to make tape to tape passes and going back and forth in the neutral zone.
Not a lot on the scoreboard tonight as far a the Flames are concerned. Nashville continues to slide with their loss to Dallas. Last night both Carolina and Florida lost and Colorado got a loser point in a shootout lose. With the win the Flames are now tied with Carolina for 27/28 spot and 2 points up on Florida and Carolina.
Young Player Barometer
Sven Baertschi had a somewhat quiet night but still made some nice plays and had some chances. Baertschi’s forecheck was a pain in the Coyotes side all night long. You have believe he is due for a breakout game sooner rather than later.
Max Reinhart started off the night quiet but the guy just doesn’t stop hustling and going to the dirty areas. As the game wore on Reinhart got better.
Roman Horak was easily the most impressive of the Flames young forwards. Horak had great positioning and strong defensive play all night long, and made some nice passes to set up his linemates too.
Mikael Backlund was told to be more selfish and definitely got the message. It took Backlund a bit to get going tonight, but really picked up his game in the second and was putting pucks on the net every chance he got. Also had a nice cross ice pass to help set up the game winner.
TJ Brodie was the best player on the ice tonight. Hard to believe how far Brodie has come this season, but he is quickly making a name for himself as the one of the Flames top defenseman.
Joey MacDonald is a starting goalie in this league. He is so steady and calm and makes some very impressive saves. He also clearly hasn’t had his numbers padded by having a solid team in front of him. If Kiprusoff isn’t returning for next season then I would love to see the Flames lock up Macdonald…That Tanguay injury looked bad. Knee’s shouldn’t twist like that. On the bright side it looks like we will get to see what Hanowski can do really quick…Despite the Flames shipping out their 2 best players I have failed to notice much of a difference in the on-ice product. In fact one might even be able to argue they have played better without Iginla and Bouwmeester…