By Dave Vest GLENDALE – The Coyotes will try to extend their point streak to 13 games and their winning streak to seven games tonight when they host the Calgary Flames at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 7 p.m. (Arizona time).
With 19 games left in the regular season, Phoenix (33-21-9) will enter the game in first place in the Pacific Division standings, two points ahead of second-place San Jose, which hosts Buffalo tonight.
Tonight’s game is the third of four between these teams this season. The Coyotes won the first two, and six in a row vs. the Flames overall.
Mike Smith, who on Thursday was named the NHL’s First Star of the Month of February, will start in goal for the Coyotes. Smith is riding a franchise record and a career‐high 11‐game winning streak. He has allowed just 16 goals during his streak and stopped 315 of 331 shots (.952 save percentage) with two shutouts.
"Obviously, we've done some good things," Smith said. "I think we've improved, and this month has been good for us. We've moved up the standings drastically and we just have to keep pushing, keep going forward."
The Coyotes will likely field the same lineup as they did on Tuesday when they stretched their home winning streak to seven games - the longest current streak in the NHL - with a 2-1 shootout victory over Vancouver.
Photo by Norm Hall.
Calgary (28-24-11) will try to snap a four-game win-less drought. As a result of the skid, the Flames are in 11th place in the Western Conference standings four points behind No. 8 Dallas.
"We went through a spell here that we had some adversity we're dealing with and we have to handle it the right way and work ourselves through it," Head Coach Brent Sutter told reporters after a 3-1 home loss to St. Louis on Monday.
Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is 0-2-2 with a 3.95 goals-against average in his past four starts, including a 4-3 loss to Phoenix on Feb. 23.
On the plus side, the Flames, who have the League’s fifth best power play on the road having converted on 21.3 percent of their chances, are expecting forward David Moss to be back in the lineup tonight. Moss has been limited to just 15 games this season due to nagging lower body injuries.
Coyotes left wing Ray Whitney, who leads the team with 58 points, will enter the game with a six‐game point streak (three goals, four assists).
Flames left wing Alex Tanguay, who ranks third on the team with 36 points, has notched two goals and two assists in the past three games.
After starting the season with a 7‐8‐2 record at Jobing.com Arena, the Coyotes are 10‐2‐2 in their past 14 home games. During that stretch, the Coyotes outscored their opponents 42‐27.
The Coyotes are 9-3-1 against Northwest Division teams - Calgary, Colorado, Edmonton, Minnesota and Vancouver - this season.
Tonight's game will be broadcast on XTRA Sports 910 AM at 7 p.m. For in-game updates via Twitter, follow @coyotesgameday.