Flames, Coyotes set for big game
COYOTES (36-23-11) at FLAMES (36-26-9)
TV: TSN (HD), FS-A (HD)
Phoenix 4-4-2; Calgary 5-4-1
Fourth and final meeting of the season between these teams. Calgary is still trying to solve and Phoenix and will attempt to avoid getting swept. The Coyotes won twice in a six-day span in November and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all 39 shots he faced in a 3-0 decision against the Flames on March 10.
Two straight losses have left Calgary just a single point in front of ninth-place Nashville, but with a regulation win Tuesday the Flames could jump all the way into a tie for fourth with the Kings and Coyotes. Welcome to the insanity of the Western Conference playoff race.
After blanking Calgary for his 22nd career shutout, Bryzgalov once again tormented his former team by making 36 saves Sunday in a 5-2 win over Anaheim, giving Phoenix a 3-0-1 record over its last four games. Lauri Korpikoski twice scored the go-ahead goal, and the second time the Coyotes built on the lead with tallies by David Schlemko and captain Shane Doan, with the latter scoring into an empty net. With the two points, they jumped from seventh to fifth -- not that coach Dave Tippett advocates paying attention.
"You're going to drive yourself crazy if you look at those standings that hard every day," he said. "We have the focus right now that every game is going to be the game that puts you in the playoffs, and we have to play every one just like it's a playoff game."
It appeared early on Saturday that Calgary was set to rebound in a big way from its previous loss to Phoenix, getting two quick goals by Mikael Backlund
and Matt Stajan
to open up a lead 3:32 into its game against NHL-leading Vancouver. The Flames had the home crowd behind them, but the Canucks showed why they're sitting atop the League standings by roaring back to hand Calgary a 4-3 defeat.
"To be up 2-0 is a great start on a Saturday night against these guys at home, but we know they have a lot of firepower," captain Jarome Iginla
said. "They got that important first power-play goal to settle it down because we were in control until then."
Doan has 3 goals and 3 assists during a four-game points streak for the Coyotes. Korpikoski has 3 goals in as many games.
Phoenix defenseman Rostislav Klesla (head) and forwards Vernon Fiddler (facial laceration) and Martin Hanzal (lower body) are day-to-day, while defenseman Ed Jovanovski is on injured reserve after orbital bone surgery. … Calgary forward Brendan Morrison
is out indefinitely with a knee injury, while defenseman Adam Pardy
(shoulder) is on injured reserve.
Taylor Pyatt also scored for the Coyotes in Sunday's win and they're now 12-1-1 this season when he lights the lamp. … Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester
is poised to set the record for consecutive games played by an NHL defenseman -- he enters Tuesday tied at 495 with Karlis Skrastins. The all-time ironman streak is held by forward Doug Jarvis, who played in 964 straight games.
Korpikoski has been a streaky player at times during his career, but he has 17 goals now this season and is making a believer of his coach.
"He sure looks good right now," Tippett said. "He's our leading goal-scorer, and if you said that in training camp you would have probably raised a few eyebrows. But he is just playing terrific. What he's done is build himself into a very good NHL player. He's combined a strong work ethic with a knowledge of the game."