Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Coyotes
INTO THE DESERT
Just 24 hours after Friday’s 4-3 come-from-behind shootout victory against the Dallas Stars, the Calgary Flames will return to the ice to face the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on Saturday.
With the Coyotes in his sights, Joe Colborne said it was important to put the win in Dallas away but remember the rush of the victory, which saw the Flames score twice in the final 7:09 to force overtime before Corban Knight's winner in the fourth round of the shootout.
“You try to do as much of both as possible,” said Colborne, who had two assists in the game. “You don’t want to sit there and get complacent with a couple good games we’ve played. At the same time, we know how frustrating it can be to play (the Coyotes). They’re very well coached and when they get a lead, they’re really good at clogging it up and frustrating our team.”
The game in Phoenix also doubles as Calgary’s third in fourth nights.
The compact schedule, Colborne said, isn’t an excuse for the Flames to come out lethargic as they chase down their third straight win.
“This comes right from the top...we don’t use fatigue as an excuse,” he said. “That’s been drilled into us from Day One. We’ve been skated enough in practice this year that we’re not allowed to use that. It’s two in two, three in four, it’s going to grind in you a little bit. It’s going to be a game we have to come out and play a little smarter.”
The Flames’ win in Dallas Friday has reiterated Calgary’s resiliency this season. Four times since Dec. 23 the Flames have found a way to battle back from a two-goal deficit with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
“We never quit,” coach Bob Hartley said following the victory. “That’s why this group is so special. They keep going and they don’t care what the situation or the score may be.”
Against the Blues in the final game before the Christmas break, Mike Cammalleri and Mark Giordano evened the game before Colborne’s shootout marker sent the Flames home with a 4-3 win. Jan. 24 saw Mikael Backlund and David Jones knot the game before Sean Monahan put the shootout bow on a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators.
A week ago, Colborne’s pair sandwiched around a Monahan marker earned a 4-3 regulation win over the New York Islanders before Friday’s dramatic win in Dallas.
“The talk going into the third is ‘We’ve done it before, lets just go play hard and if you get one, you never know’,” Cammalleri said. “You earn confidence. Confidence isn’t given and we’re starting to earn confidence in that aspect, I guess.
“It’s something we’ve been doing pretty well as of late, really just whatever the score is coming out of the third period and pouring what we have and trying to keep going and stick with what we’re trying to do. Sometimes you get rewarded and tonight it was nice to see the result. It makes it easier for everybody to believe in what we’re trying to do.”
COLBORNE HITTING STRIDE
With three goals and six assists in his past 11 games, Colborne admitted he is feeling as comfortable as ever in his young NHL career.
“Confidence-wise, I feel the best I’ve ever felt here at this level,” the 24-year-old said. “I feel like back through my career, every step up I’ve taken takes at least half a year to get used to it and then the points start to come. Hopefully I can continue to do that.”
His increased production has more to do with the chemistry Colborne has developed alongside Cammalleri and Sean Monahan and less with adjusting to the wing.
“Everyone keeps saying it like it’s re-inventing the wheel but I’m playing with good players and the coach is giving me good opportunities to make plays,” the converted centre said. “It’s a situation here I’m playing with confidence and in this league that’s everything.”
“He’s so good at reading off you that no matter where you are, he’ll be in a good position to support you. Whatever play you decide to make, he’s already read it and I feel I am starting to do the same thing with him. He’s already in the right position or I’m already in the right position. It’s fun playing with him.”
-Colborne on playing with Mike Cammalleri
Calgary’s All-time record vs. PHX: 82-68-20-4-2
All-time record CGY at PHX: 32-40-11-3-1
Last 10 Games PHX vs. CGY: 6-3-0-1
Last 10 Games CGY at PHX: 2-6-1-1
Tonight’s game between the Flames and Coyotes will be broadcast on CBC and Sportsnet 960 The Fan at 8 p.m. MST.