The Calgary Flames (14-13-2 SU, 15-4 ATS) enter Arizona in pursuit of a fifth straight win. The Flames had not won four straight since last season, but thanks to the surprising play of goaltender Chad Johnson (2.04 goal against average, .931 save percentage), the Flames will land in the desert as the NHL’s hottest team. Since taking over the starting job from Brian Elliott in mid-November, the Flames have won 9 of 11 games and have pulled themselves out of the basement of the Western Conference. Coupled with the return of superstar Johnny Gaudreau (7 goals, 8 assists) following a broken finger, and strong recent play from Shawn Monahan (8 goals, 7 assists), the Flames seem to have turned a corner.
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The Arizona Coyotes (8-13-4), meanwhile, are going in the opposite direction as the Flames. Losers of five straight games, including a 4-0 shutout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, the ‘Yotes are searching for answers from the young roster. Goaltender Mike Smith (2.77 goals against average, .924 save percentage) can’t be blamed for his team’s struggles this season. Arizona ranks fourth last in the NHL in goals per game with 2.20 and second worst in goals against per game with 3.16. Those ugly statistics won’t result in many games won. Puck drop is at 9 PM ET on Sportsnet.