The Calgary Flames arrived in Arizona hoping to improve on their away win record only to suffer defeat as the Coyotes went on to earn goaltender Darcy Kuemper his third shutout of the season.
Kuemper has been hot of late as the Arizona Coyotes close in on the Western Conference wild card playoff spot. It was superior goaltending that made it happen as the Coyotes went on to defeat Calgary 2-0 last night at the Gila River Arena in Arizona on Thursday.
Jakob Chychrun and Clayton Keller both scored for Arizona adding to the woes of the Flames, who suffered their fourth loss in a row. Kuemper has been having a solid performance since January earning 16 wins against 4 losses and 3 shutouts. The Coyotes have won all but one of their last eight games and are keeping pace with the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars. Arizona is only three points shy of improving to second place in the Western Conference wild card battle.
Kuemper faced a one man advantage for four and half minutes of the third period and managed to hold off a hard charging Calgary. Commenting on the final minutes of the game, Kuemper said,
“They needed to … I guess with the timeout they thought they could draw something up and maybe catch us by surprise, but the guys did a great job defending.”
Darcy Kuemper recorded his third shutout of the season as the @ArizonaCoyotes improved to 8-2-0 in their last ten games and moved within three points of the final Wild Card spot. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/9KivRcRv5h
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 8, 2019
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Arizona’s Clayton Keller, who scored midway through the first, earned his thirteenth goal of the season to give the Coyotes the one goal lead. Keller was helped heading into the Flames zone by Christian Dvorak, who came up the wing to pass the puck to Keller after Calgary’s defense took a fall trying to block the play.
Calgary missed several good scoring opportunities but failed to hit the target missing the net several times. Commenting on the loss and overall play, Bill Peters, head coach of the Calgary Flames said,
“We’re playing well in our own zone, we’re playing well defensively. We’re having a hard time getting it to go, and some of the execution could be a little bit better, but I think once we get one or two, I think it’ll start to come again.”
The second period went scoreless, and the third began with Calgary having a one man advantage but failed to capitalise on the opportunity. The one chance they did have saw Mark Giordano take a shot that deflected off Elias Lindholm and bounce off the post.
Arizona responded aggressively once at full power and took less than a minute for Jakob Chychrun to score their second goal of the night a connecting with a rebound fired off by Christian Dovak. Calgary challenged the goal calling interference on goalie Mike Smith, but it was overruled after video reply review. Commenting on the play and loss, Mike Smith, who previously played for Arizona said,
“It’s hard to score, it’s hard to win this time of year. There’s no sense of getting frustrated about it, we have to be better.”
The Calgary Flames are now off until Sunday when they welcome the Vegas Knights in Calgary, New Jersey on Tuesday and the New York Rangers on Friday. The Coyotes will face the L.A Kings on Saturday night before hitting the road for a two game road trip against Chicago and Seattle.