The Arizona Coyotes look to pick up where they left off following a 4-2 win in Vancouver on Wednesday night. They blew a 1-0 lead, but responded for 3 unanswered goals in the final frame to get an important win. As the Coyotes sit on the fence, every game is going to be important for them at this point. The Coyotes enter Friday with a record of 33-27-8 and 74 points.
That puts them 8 points behind the Golden Knights for first in the Pacific Division and into a four-way tie with the Canucks, Predators, and Jets. The Canucks and Jets sat idle last night, though the Predators beat the Stars at home to get into a tie for the No. 1 and 2 wildcards in the Western Conference. Buckle up because it’s going to be a crazy ride.
Keep in mind that the Wild could be ahead with 75 points by the time you read this. They’re currently up on the Sharks in the third period. A win and the Wild will leapfrog all four teams in the Western Conference. They’d go from second-last in the Central Division to fourth and a spot in the playoffs. It’s hard to say at this moment who is going to be going to the playoffs, but don’t sleep on the Wild.
They had a slow start and are rounding into form at the perfect time. We’ll see if Bruce Boudreau really was the problem, but they have certainly been playing better since he got fired. The Coyotes have been picking it up recently as well, but will need a lot more than three wins in their previous four games. Back it up further, and the Coyotes are batting .500 in their last six outings. With others in the Western Conference heating up, the Coyotes will have to keep pace with them.
They were able to pick on a banged up Canucks squad Wednesday, but will see a much healthier Flames team in this one. Calgary is looking good after wins against the Panthers and Blue Jackets. They’re another team in the midst of a furious playoff battle in the Western Conference. The Flames hold a 3-point advantage on the Coyotes with 77 points. They’d be going into the playoffs as the No. 3 team in the Pacific. There is a lot of hockey left to be played, though. Needless to say, this is a crucial contest for both teams at the Saddledome on Friday. Head below for our free Coyotes vs. Flames pick.
Arizona Coyotes vs. Calgary Flames Betting Odds:
Coyotes vs. Flames Prediction:
The Coyotes won just their third road game since January 7 against the Canucks. Instead of folding after giving up their lead, the Coyotes responded to erase a 2-1 deficit and win 4-2. That’s what you want to see from a team fighting for the playoffs. Laying down and playing dead after getting behind would have been the old mantra for the Coyotes.
That wasn’t the case in Vancouver on Wednesday night. They will have a tall order at the Saddledome in this one. Despite beating the Canucks in Vancouver, a team who is dealing with key injuries, the Coyotes still haven’t proven they can win on the road consistently.
Getting home ice advantage for the Coyotes would be important, but they’re just trying to get into the playoffs, never mind getting home ice in a series. Mind you, the Yotes don’t have a bad record at all away from home, as they’ve posted a mark of 16-15-4. That beats a lot of other teams in the league.
However, a closer look at their effort on the road suggests a bit of luck on their side. Note that Arizona has scored only 2.37 goals per game on the road, while allowing 2.71 goals a game. They’ve played in a ton of tight games, with Darcy Kuemper having to steal games between the pipes. Kuemper was in net for his second appearance since an injury wiped him out for about two months.
A healthy Kuemper is necessary for the Coyotes in March. He has been the MVP of the team and was in Vezina contention before going down in December. Kuemper owns a 2.16 GAA and 0.929 save percentage in 27 outings this season. He faces a red-hot Flames’ offence that have scored 4 goals per game in their last ten outings. Nothing was clicking in the first-half offensively for the Flames, but they poured it on in February.
It was Cam Talbot who should be saluted for their last two wins, though. Talbot shutout a dangerous Panthers’ offence, and then came back in the next game and beat the Blue Jackets, 3-2. With Rittich struggling, expect to see Talbot in net again. I’m in favor of a close matchup at the Saddledome on Friday night. I’m giving the edge to the better offence at home, though. A 3-2 or 4-2 win for the Flames at home is the likely outcome.