|1:00 PM PT2:00 PM MT3:00 PM CT4:00 PM ET21:00 GMT5:00 2:00 PM MST4:00 PM EST1:00 UAE (+1)16:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 18, 2019
Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta Attendance: 18,985
Flames' Smith seeking rhythm in nets versus Coyotes
Mike Smith hasn't started three consecutive games for the Calgary Flames since the opening month of the season.
His inconsistent play in net for much of the season, combined with the strong run David Rittich provided from mid-December through the end of January, left Smith more often than not riding the bench as the backup.
However, Smith is being given his chance to be the backbone of the club sitting atop the Western Conference standings. He's been tabbed to take the net against his old team Monday afternoon when the Flames play host to the Arizona Coyotes after backstopping Calgary to its 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday afternoon.
"It feels nice to play," the veteran netminder said after the Pittsburgh win. "It's been a while since I've had back-to-back games, so it's nice to get a rhythm going and feel good about where my game's at. It's nice to get rewarded for a lot of hard work that I've put in."
The Flames are kicking off a three-game homestead after a 1-1-2 road trip in which they hardly played well enough to win every game, but could have very easily won three of four with some puck luck.
"We didn't love our trip, to be honest with you, but we got points in three out of the four games and finish .500. Ended well with three out of the last possible four (points)," head coach Bill Peters said. "We'd like to get our game dialed up a little bit better and a little more consistent across the board, and that's what we'll strive towards coming to the finish line here."
Calgary has cobbled together a 2-3-2 record since the All-Star break, yet managed to keep a hold on top spot in the division.
"If someone were to ask you if you'd be happy with first place at this time of the year, I think you'd be pretty happy with that," Smith said. "Every team's going to go through a bit of a low, and I think it's important to get it back as quick as you can and play like we're capable of. (Saturday's win) was a good example of that."
Arizona arrives in Calgary on the heels of a 2-0 home win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, the Coyotes' third victory in four outings that has them in the thick of the wild card playoff spot hunt. It was a solid showing after a 4-0 thumping at the hands of the St. Louis Blues two nights earlier.
"I think it was a good turnaround game for us, a good response," said forward Josh Archibald. "We didn't play the way we wanted to (versus St. Louis) and I think we came out and had a really great start. That was something we wanted to do."
"We had a game plan, we talked about it (Friday), we talked a little bit about it today, and they executed it," Tocchet said after his team's win. "To play a Leaf team, as star-studded as they are, you have to execute a game plan and the players were diligent in the game plan. I've got to give them a lot of credit."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 17, 2019