By Dave Vest
The Coyotes will look to bank two more points tonight when they play the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time).
Phoenix (35-25-11) will enter the game in seventh place in the Western Conference standings but just two points behind idle Dallas in the Pacific Division standings.
The Coyotes rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat Vancouver, 5-4, on Wednesday night at Rogers Arena. Nine players notched at least one point for the Coyotes, who are one point ahead of eighth-place Colorado and three in front of Calgary, San Jose and Los Angeles.
"If we play well and get our own points, we can control our own destiny on whether we make the playoffs or not," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "To come out and get points like this (on Wednesday) is huge for our group."
Tonight’s game is the fourth and final game of the season between the Coyotes and Flames. Phoenix won the first two, but the Flames won the most recent matchup, 4-2, on March 1 in Glendale. Phoenix has won the past three games played in Calgary.
, who stopped 39 of 43 shots on Wednesday night vs. Vancouver, is expected to start again tonight. Smith is 2-1-0 with a 2.24 goals-against average vs. the Flames this season.
Coyotes leading goal scorer Radim Vrbata
, who missed Wednesday's game because of an illness, likely will miss tonight's game, too. Ditto defenseman Adrian Aucoin
, who suffered a lower-body injury in Wednesday night's game.
Phoenix defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson
is quietly emerging as one of the team’s most reliable players. The 20-year-old Swede has played 25:00 or more in nine of the past 15 games. On Wednesday, he scored his 10th goal of the season; only five other NHL defensemen have scored more goals this season.
|Photo by Getty Images.
Calgary (33-25-12) pushed its winning streak to four games with a 3-2 overtime victory over San Jose on Tuesday.
"You look at the standings and these teams you're playing, they're all emotional games," Head Coach Brent Sutter said. "They just get bigger as they go along."
The Flames have scored the first goal of the game in 11 consecutive games - which is the longest such streak in the NHL this season.
Captain Jarome Iginla is leading the way offensively with seven goals and six assists in the month of March. Iginla, who ranks 23rd in the NHL with 61 points, has had four straight multi-point games.
Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves on Tuesday to improve to 5-0-1 with a 2.60 goals-against average in his past six games.