By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will close a three-game homestand tonight when they host the Calgary Flames at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (34-23-11) will enter the game in eighth place in the Western Conference standings and looking to earn at least one point for a third consecutive game. The Coyotes started the homestand by beating Detroit on Saturday and then grabbed another point with an overtime loss to Vancouver on Tuesday.
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to see the standings for both conferences.
Tonight's game will be the first of two games against Calgary in a six-day span. Phoenix plays at the Flames on March 15. The Coyotes have beaten the Flames twice already this season, once at home and once on the road. Those games were played during a six-game span in November.
will start in goal for the Coyotes. In two games vs. the Flames this season, Bryzgalov has posted a 2-0-0 record with a 2.50 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.
The Coyotes likely will be short-handed for this game. Four players – Martin Hanzal
, Rostislav Klesla
, Derek Morris
and Ray Whitney
– are considered day-to-day because of lower-body injuries, except for Klesla who was hit in the face with a shot in Tuesday's game.
“We have some key players missing in the lineup, but we all have to step up," defenseman Michal Rozsival
said. "It might be a little more pressure, but I think we're capable of handling it."
Coyotes center Eric Belanger
has impressed the coaching staff lately with solid all-around play. Belanger had three points in Tuesday’s loss to Vancouver. It was his first three-point game since Oct. 6, 2009 when he was a member of the Minnesota Wild. Belanger is four assists away from tying his career-high assist total (24) he set in 2007-08.
"He's the centerman we rely on to make other people around him better, and (Tuesday's) game was a great example of that," Tippett said.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Calgary (36-24-9) will enter the game riding an impressive streak that has carried the team into fifth place in the conference standings. The Flames were next to last in the West on Jan. 20, but are 16-3-3 since then and 8-2-1 in their last 11 road games.
On Wednesday night, Calgary beat Dallas, 4-3, in a shootout. The Flames jumped to a 3-0 lead in that game but allowed Dallas to rally and tie the score. Curtis Glencross scored the game-winning goal in the shootout to give the Flames their third win in a row.
Calgary ranks sixth sixth in NHL with 2.94 goals per game. Meanwhile, goalie Miikka Kiprusoff ranks first in the league with 32 wins and tied for fourth with six shutouts.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla recently became the 10th NHL player to score 30 goals in 10 straight seasons. The only other players to accomplish the feat were Wayne Gretzky, Phil Esposito, Bobby Hull, Marcel Dionne, Jaromir Jagr, Mike Gartner, Mike Bossy, Jari Kurri and Darryl Sittler.