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Thursday, March 10th (All times eastern)
Calgary Flames (36-24-9) at Phoenix Coyotes (34-23-11), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Flames are catching fire at just the right time. The Coyotes, on the other hand, are in danger of losing grasp on a playoff spot.
Calgary goes for its fourth straight victory while Phoenix tries to avoid its seventh loss in eight games in tonight's meeting at Jobing.com Arena.
Despite blowing a 3-0 first-period last night in Dallas, the Flames escaped with a shootout victory over the Stars and are 8-2-1 in their last 11 games. That burst has them tied with Chicago for the fourth spot in the Western Conference with 81 points, one more than Dallas and two up on Phoenix and Los Angeles.
The Coyotes and Kings are tied for the last two spots in the West's playoff picture as Phoenix has gone 1-4-2 since an eight-game winning streak from Feb. 5-22. The Wild and Ducks sit just two points back of the seventh and eighth positions.
Rene Bourque, Tom Kostopoulos and Anton Babchuk all scored during a 3:15 span in the first period last night before the Stars crept back to force overtime. Alex Tanguay and Curtis Glencross, who had scored the game-winner in Calgary's previous two games, then scored in the shootout, while Miikka Kiprusoff halted two of three Dallas skaters in the deciding frame after making 31 saves.
Calgary's victory, which came without Brendan Morrison due to a knee injury, was the club's sixth in its last eight road games and improved the Flames to 15-14-5 as the guest this season.
Phoenix has struggled since its lengthy winning streak and was without three key skaters on Tuesday in a 4-3 overtime loss to Vancouver. Derek Morris, Ray Whitney and Martin Hanzal all missed the game with lower-body injuries and are questionable for tonight.
Defenseman Rostislav Klesla could also sit out tonight after getting hit in the face by a shot in the second period of Tuesday's setback. He played just one shift after the blow to the head.
Eric Belanger recorded a goal and two assists while Shane Doan and Lauri Korpikoski also tallied for the Coyotes. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped Alex Burrows' overtime penalty shot, but gave up four goals on 39 shots in all.
"We had a great effort out there tonight," said Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett. "There were a few key mistakes here, but there was no lack of effort out there."
The loss was just the Coyotes' second in their last eight at home (6-1-1) and they wrap a three-game homestand tonight. Phoenix is 16-11-6 overall as the host this season.
Phoenix has won both of its meetings so far this year with Calgary and four of the past five matchups in this series overall. Vernon Fiddler notched a hat trick in a 5-4 win when the teams met in the desert on Nov. 12, Calgary's third straight loss at Jobing.com Arena.
Bryzgalov has been in net for both victories and is 7-7-1 with a 2.78 goals- against average versus the Flames, while Kiprusoff has allowed six goals on 55 shots in the two losses. He is 12-8-2 with a 2.30 GAA versus the Coyotes.
03/10 11:02:53 ET
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