The Calgary Flames missed a golden opportunity to reclaim a playoff spot on Monday night as they were dismantled by an Arizona Coyotes team that had won six times in 25 road games heading into the contest.
The goaltending was horrible, Johnny Gaudreau was demoted to the 4th line, and Dennis Wideman played a lot even though he was a complete liability.
Tonight the Flames will attempt to pick up the pieces, put them back together and get back on track in a pivotal game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Both teams sit just outside of the playoffs and could get their hands on a wild-card spot with a win tonight. In other words, there should be no shortage of desperation from either side in this one.
Here are the expected line combinations for the Flames:
Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Troy Brouwer
Kris Versteeg - Sam Bennett - Alex Chiasson
Micheal Ferland - Matt Stajan - Garnet Hathaway
Mark Giordano - Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie - Dennis Wideman
Brett Kulak - Deryk Engelland
And the expected lines for the Flyers (via dailyfaceoff.com):
Brayden Schenn - Claude Giroux - Wayne Simmonds
Jordan Weal - Sean Couturier - Jakub Voracek
Michael Raffl - Nick Cousins - Matt Read
Chris VandeVelde - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Dale Weise
Ivan Provorov - Andrew MacDonald
Mark Streit - Shayne Gostisbehere
Brandon Manning - Radko Gudas
A few notes:
1) It'll be interesting to see if Gaudreau's demotion last game has any impact on how he plays. Personally, I think Gaudreau is at his best when he uses his creativity and lives on the edge a bit in terms of attempting skill plays that may not work out so he shouldn't start playing conservative. He is a player that succeeds playing fast and chaotic, not playing slow and dumbing things down.
2) Elliott has posted a sub .900 save percentage in three straight appearances and five of his last seven. The Flames really need him to get back on track and give them a quality start in this one.
3) Over the last 10 games, the Flyers have scored eight 5v5 goals (30th) while the Flames have scored 13 (28th). Both teams have struggled to create offense at full-strength, so this game will absolutely end up being a track meet.
Tonight's game is scheduled for 9:30 eastern and can be seen onSN360, SNW, and TCN-PH.