NHL

Thu, Feb 23, 2012 - 9:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Coyotes-Flames Preview

Share This Story

   
 

In a tightly packed Western Conference playoff race, a stunning loss by the Calgary Flames drew notice from the Phoenix Coyotes.

The surging Coyotes have won five straight over the Flames, but expect a difficult matchup Thursday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Calgary (28-23-9) fell out of the West's top eight after Tuesday's 6-1 home defeat to lowly Edmonton. The Flames had won nine straight over their provincial rivals and 10 in a row against them at home.

"Now we're in ninth again and we gotta get back next game and climb back up," captain Jarome Iginla said.

Phoenix (30-21-9) is 8-0-1 this month, and has not lost to Calgary since a 2-1 defeat March 31, 2010. The Coyotes remain wary of a backlash by the Flames, who sit four points behind them.

"You look at what happened in Calgary (on Tuesday)," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "If we think that Calgary is going to just tiptoe into that game on Thursday, we've got another thing coming."

The Coyotes moved into a tie with San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division on Tuesday after rallying from a three-goal deficit for a 5-4 shootout win over visiting Los Angeles. Radim Vrbata scored his second power-play goal with 2:27 left in regulation to tie the game, and Phoenix converted twice in the shootout.

"It shows a lot about our team and the way we've been playing of late," defenseman Keith Yandle said. "At the beginning of the year, we were losing games last minute or in overtime. Lately, we've been finding a way to play good hockey and come together - and it's been fun."

Phoenix's league-worst power play (13.7 percent) was a surprising 3 for 7, with Vrbata also assisting on captain Shane Doan's tally.

Vrbata has eight goals and six assists in his last 11 games. He has reached the 30-goal plateau for the first time and is four points shy of his career-high total of 56 set in 2007-08.

"What he's doing right now, not just the amount of goals he's scoring, but the time of his goals and the circumstance in which he scores, he's an elite player in the league right now," Tippett said. "It's great to see him get that recognition, and it's obviously great for our team to have a guy like that that's as hot as he is."

The mood is entirely different for Calgary, which scored first Tuesday before matching its highest total of goals allowed at home all season. Miikka Kiprusoff was pulled from a start for the first time since Nov. 1.

The Flames had not lost in regulation in their previous eight contests and hadn't conceded more than three goals over their previous 13.

"There's really no explanation to it, it is what it is," coach Brent Sutter said. "We were flat, physically, mentally, emotionally."

The Flames failed to convert their lone power-play chance Tuesday, dropping their NHL-worst percentage at home to 12.5. They have come up empty in their last 15 opportunities overall, beginning with an 0-for-3 effort in a 2-1 overtime loss at Phoenix on Feb. 9 in the lone matchup between these teams this season.

It's unclear if the Coyotes will have Antoine Vermette available for his debut after they acquired the center from Columbus on Wednesday for two draft picks and goalie Curtis McElhinney.

Tagged: Flames, Coyotes, Radim Vrbata

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

LA mayor at Kings rally: 'This is a big f**king day!' Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

Highlights: Rangers/Kings - Game 5 Posted: Jun 14, 2014
Watch highlights of the Kings' 2OT win over the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup.

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt