Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Flames will have extra motivation when they host the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.

The Pacific Division leaders Flames kicked off a six-game homestand with a disappointing 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday – a game in which they blew a 3-1 lead and surrendered a pair of goals in the third period 28 seconds a hand. The Flames lost in regulation as they led after two periods for the first time this season (31-1-2).

There doesn’t seem to be much of a chance the Flames will miss out on a Coyotes team that has lost three straight games in regulation and will be among the favorites to win the lottery for the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft this summer.

The loss at the hands of a Sharks team that is virtually eliminated from the playoffs was a disastrous defensive performance, with everyone – including goaltender Jacob Markstrom – accepting and deserving blame.

“Four goals conceded at home. I thought we were cutting the odds,” Markstrom said. “You four have to stop. It was not good. I have to be better.

The Flames are the No. 2 team in the league defensively, but looked nothing like that against the Sharks.

“No excuses,” forward Matthew Tkachuk said. “(Markstrom) was our MVP this year and we did a terrible job, especially in third place, ahead of him.”

Friday’s matchup will likely be the start of center Ryan Carpenter, the veteran acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline. Carpenter skated on the fourth line in Thursday’s practice, with Sean Monahan emerging as the odd man in what has been a dreadful season for the seven-time 20-goal scorer.

Speaking of teams coming off frustrating losses, the Coyotes begin a three-game swing in Western Canada after Tuesday’s 4-2 home loss to the Seattle Kraken. Even though the Coyotes know they’re deep in another rebuild, everyone admitted their performance against Seattle wasn’t up to par.

“I saw a lack of combat, I saw a bit of a lack of soul,” said coach André Tourigny. “We have a lot of frustration for some reason. We just have to band together and push together.

It was a disappointing round for Arizona, which won four of five games on a road swing before this losing skid.

“It’s hard to put your finger on what’s changed since the road trip,” Tourigny said. “You can feel it, you can see it. How to get out of it is the million dollar question. This is why we have to find a solution. »

There are some positives for the Coyotes. Forwards Nick Schmaltz, Nick Ritchie and Clayton Keller roll offensively. Schmaltz, whose next goal will be his 20th of the season, had 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in 10 March games, while Keller had 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in the past 10 outings. and Ritchie has scored five goals in his last eight outings.

Despite these personal accomplishments, the Coyotes are well aware that bigger goals are more important, even for a team that will play the ropes.

“I think for our team and what we’re trying to do here, I don’t think it’s the best effort we can put in,” veteran defender Shayne Gostisbehere said.

Of note, Coyotes forward Phil Kessel is expected to play his 964th consecutive game, which would put him tied with Doug Jarvis for the second-longest streak in NHL history. Kessel is also two goals away from reaching 400 for his career.

–Field level media


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