By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will try to extend their point streak to 10 consecutive games tonight when they play the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (30-21-9) will enter the game in seventh place in the Western Conference standings but tied with Pacific Division leading San Jose with 69 points.
The Coyotes have won five consecutive games against the Flames, including the last two played at Calgary. These teams last played on Feb. 9 in Arizona; Phoenix won 2-1 in overtime.
Goalie Mike Smith
, who is currently riding a career-high eight-game winning streak, is expected to start.
Center Antoine Vermette
, whom Phoenix acquired in a trade with Columbus on Wednesday, will make his Coyotes debut. Vermette notched eight goals and 19 assists in 60 games for the Blue Jackets this season before being traded. On Tuesday, he appeared in his 600th career NHL game.
"I can't wait to get going (with the Coyotes)," Vermette said. "...they play well as a group and that's why they're so successful."
He added: "Don Maloney told me he was happy to get me in the trade and I am too. I can't wait to be part of this (team)."
Center Daymond Langkow
will play his first game at Scotiabank Saddledome since being traded by the Flames to the Coyotes in the off-season. Langkow played 392 games for the Flames before the deal.
Forward Taylor Pyatt
, who has missed the past three games because of an upper-body injury, will return to the lineup tonight. That’s the good news. The bad news is that injured forwards Gilbert Brule
and Kyle Chipchura
and injured defensemen Rostislav Klesla
and David Schlemko
will not. Defenseman Derek Morris, who is on a leave of absence because of a family illness, also will not play.
|Photo by Norm Hall.
Calgary (28-23-9) will enter the game in ninth place in the Western Conference standings but just a point behind eighth-place Los Angeles, which is idle tonight.
Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who was pulled after two periods on Tuesday during a 6-1 loss to Edmonton, is expected to be back in goal. Kiprusoff is 10-4-3 in his last 17 starts while facing more than 500 shots in those games.
Tuesday’s loss was Calgary’s first in regulation in February and it snapped the team’s eight-game point streak (5-0-3).
Flames captain Jarome Iginla is leading the team with 23 goals and former Coyotes center Olli Jokinen is tops in assists (31) and points (49).
Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester holds the longest current ironman streak in the NHL at 566 games (streak started on March 6, 2004).