A trip to the Stanley Cup playoffs may seem like a pipe dream for the Arizona Coyotes, but they are not going down without a fight.
Heading into Wednesday’s home game against the Calgary Flames in Tempe, Ariz., the Coyotes are looking to extend their streak of collecting at least one point. Thanks to Sunday’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Coyotes are on a 5-0-4 run, including a four-game home-ice winning streak.
“All year long we’ve been good in this building,” said Coyotes forward Barrett Hayton, the overtime hero. “The energy is great.
“We’ve done a really good job in here. We have an opportunity to play a lot of home games here down the stretch and keep it going.”
The Coyotes surrendered a 2-0 lead against the Blue Jackets, including the game-tying goal with less than five minutes remaining in regulation. But they pulled off a victory that ran their home-ice record to 13-8-2, all while under the expectations of seeing players dealt away before the March 3 trade deadline.
While they may be expecting subtractions from the lineup, the Coyotes also saw a valuable player return for the Columbus game. Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who had been out since Jan. 24 due to injury, was able to join the fun.
“Happy I could be on board for one of them,” Gostisbehere said. “It was awesome. You see it differently when you’re not playing. The boys are trying really hard every night, and it’s definitely noticeable, so when you come in you want to hop on and get on the train.”
The Flames arrive after yet another disappointing loss just as they believed they had turned the corner. Calgary absorbed a 4-3 home loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday to remain just outside a playoff spot.
“I feel it’s easy to kind of get hot, right, and we haven’t really gotten hot this year,” said forward Andrew Mangiapane, whose third-period goal tied the game only to see the Flyers net the winner a couple of minutes later. “We’ve had a couple streaks or whatnot, but not really long ones. I think we’re due. We’re playing the right way.”
The Flames outplayed and outshot the Flyers but could not gain a lead, especially after they erased a two-goal deficit in the final frame — leaving them the NHL’s lone team without a victory when trailing after two periods.
“We came out and came back,” said forward Mikael Backlund, who collected one goal and one assist, giving him 14 points in the last 11 games. “We had that jump. Just really tough when you come back and you still find a way to lose. It’s frustrating.”
Calgary has lost five of seven games (2-3-2) and has not won consecutive games since Jan. 21-23. Four of those five defeats have been one-goal losses.
“It was a close game. You can’t take any team lightly in this league no matter where they are in the standings or whatnot, but I thought we did some things well and we have to build off that,” Mangiapane said. “But I feel we’ve got to play a full 60 (minutes). We’ve been kind of saying that a lot, but it’s true. We let up a shift or let up a period and teams are capitalizing on us right now.”
–Field Level Media