NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 9th (All times Eastern)
Calgary Flames (25-22-7) at Phoenix Coyotes (25-21-8), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Needing a big two points on Wednesday night, the Calgary Flames turned to pair of Finns to get the job done. The Flames aim to jump into the playoff picture this evening and stop the Phoenix Coyotes' three-game winning streak in the process.
Calgary went into last night's meeting with the San Jose Sharks having lost three of its past four games. However, the Flames appeared to pick up some momentum with a big 4-3 win that featured the seventh hat trick of Olli Jokinen's career. He helped fellow Finland native Miikka Kiprusoff reach 300 career victories with his offensive outburst.
Kiprusoff ended with 34 saves in the milestone victory, which pulled Calgary into a tie with Colorado for 10th overall in the Western Conference with 57 points. That has the Flames a point back of the Coyotes and Wild for the eighth seed.
"It's a nice number," Kiprusoff said of 300 wins. "Right now it's not that big a deal. It's nice, but we have a job to do here. We're fighting for the playoffs, and we need those wins. But, yeah, it's a good number."
Jokinen added his 29th assist of the season on Jarome Iginla's goal to up his team-leading point total of 45 despite not feeling well before the game.
"I haven't felt that good in the last couple of days," said Jokinen. "I've felt like I've been getting sick or something, but it's all mental. Block it out and try to do things right. Sometimes you get lucky."
The Coyotes hope that luck has nothing to do with their current season high- tying winning streak. Phoenix extended its run on Tuesday with a 4-1 victory over Dallas, getting goals from Radim Vrbata, Keith Yandle, Raffi Torres and Derek Morris to win three in a row for the first time since Oct. 27-Nov. 2.
"That's three games now where we've played how we have to play," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. "We have a lot of people that are committed to doing things that make you win hockey games."
Morris potted his first goal since March 24 of last year, ending a 51-game goal drought, while fellow blueliner Yandle scored before leaving the game early in the third with a knee injury sustained while blocking a shot. He is questionable for tonight.
Mike Smith was solid in net, making 28 saves in his career high-tying 42nd game of the season first done with the Lightning in 2009-10.
The Coyotes and Flames are meeting for the first time this season after Phoenix swept the four-game set a year ago. The 'Yotes have won eight of the past 11 meetings overall as well as four straight as the host versus Calgary.
02/09 10:32:28 ET