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Flames Game Day

Game Day: Flames Need To Kick Desert Dogs In Arizona

Calgary Flames can’t take Arizona Coyotes lightly, facing a talented young group with nothing to lose and enjoying the NHL playoff spoiler role.



There may be no less stressful situation than the one the Calgary Flames' (30-24-13) next opponent is in. The Arizona Coyotes (24-32-11) have no pressure. 

With the NHL trade deadline passed, there isn't even the threat of a trade for the group of youngster who are having some fun in a college environment but with NHL salaries. 

There's plenty of talent, too, with Clayton Keller showing the world how talented he is, and former Calgary Flames prospect Juuso Valimaki proving he can play in the league – if not for Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. 

"Lots of skill. Their top players — Keller, (Nick) Schmaltz, (Matias) Maccelli — if you give them lots of room, they're going to use it to their advantage," Flames defenceman Nikita Zadorov said after a morning skate in Arizona. "I think, definitely, play harder against their top players, because they're pretty hot right now.

"We had the same mindset last game against (Tim) Stutzle, (Brady) Tkachuk and all those guys, so repeat it."

The Coyotes beat the Minnesota Wild 5-4 at Mullett Arena on Sunday, with Keller scoring a pair, including the overtime winner. Barrett Hayton scored twice as well. And then there's another ex-Calgary Flames player, Brett Ritchie, throwing up a goal and two assists for a season high three points. For those tracking the brother trade, Brett has two goals and four points since the NHL trade deadline. Nick Ritchie has a single goal from his first game and is expected to be a healthy scratch for a second straight game.

"It's after the deadline. The mental part of it changes for players a lot. If you look at it since the deadline, they've beaten some good teams and it changes, right?" said Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter. "You've got guys that are fighting for jobs, guys that are playing for a contract. There are so many things that change for teams like this now."

Jacob Markstrom, who's been hot for the Flames at crunch time, starts his seventh straight game. 

Jonathan Huberdeau sticks on the left side, after enjoying a solid first game back in is comfortable spot. 

Calgary Flames projected lineup


Jakob Pelletier – Elias Lindholm – Tyler Toffoli

Jonathan Huberdeau – Nazem Kadri – Dillon Dube

Andrew Mangiapane – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman

Milan Lucic – Trevor Lewis – Walker Duehr


MacKenzie Weegar – Rasmus Andersson

Noah Hanifin – Chris Tanev

Nikita Zadorov – Troy Stecher 


Jacob Markstrom

Arizona Coyotes projected lineup


Clayton Keller — Barrett Hayton — Brett Ritchie

Matias Maccelli — Jack McBain — Lawson Crouse

Liam O'Brien — Travis Boyd — Christian Fischer

Bokondji Imama — Laurent Dauphin — Zack Kassian


Juuso Valimaki — Josh Brown

Patrik Nemeth — J.J. Moser

Connor Mackey — Victor Soderstrom


Connor Ingram

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