The Calgary Flames have continued to climb up the Western Conference standings by consistently beating fellow playoff contenders. They’ll have two chances in the next six days to beat another one of those teams.
Calgary will attempt to move into sole possession of fourth place in the West on Thursday night by recording only their second win in six games against the Phoenix Coyotes.
After a rare regulation loss March 2 in Chicago, the Flames have rebounded with three straight wins, including 4-3 in a shootout at Dallas on Wednesday.
Calgary (36-24-9) picked up another two points despite blowing an early 3-0 lead, and moved into a tie for fourth with the Blackhawks. 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.
Phoenix, meanwhile, has gone from leading the Pacific Division on Feb. 22 to battling for the final postseason berth. The Coyotes are 1-4-2 in their last seven, but have earned three points in their last two games - both against division leaders.
After beating Detroit in a shootout Saturday, Phoenix earned a point despite blowing an early two-goal lead to visiting Vancouver on Tuesday, Lauri Korpikoski(notes) scored with 43 seconds left in regulation, but the Coyotes fell 4-3 in overtime to drop to 1-1-1 at home since a season-high five-game run there.
“We’re like everybody else. Our margin for error is very slim,” coach Dave Tippett said. “We found a way to get a point and we’ll move on to (face) Calgary.”
The Coyotes (34-23-11) faced the Canucks without Ray Whitney(notes), Martin Hanzal(notes), Derek Morris(notes) and Ed Jovanovski(notes). Recently acquired Rostislav Klesla(notes) also had a puck bounce off his stick and hit him in the face. Everyone but Jovanovski (orbital bone surgery) are day-to-day.
Phoenix has handled Calgary in both matchups this season, including a 5-4 victory at Jobing.com Arena on Nov. 12. Vernon Fiddler(notes) recorded his first career hat trick and the Coyotes held on after giving up two goals in the final minute.
Korpikoski had a career-high three assists in that win, and scored the final goal in a 3-1 victory at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Nov. 17. Hanzal assisted on that goal, and scored in the second period to give his team a 2-0 lead.
Phoenix is trying to win four straight at home over Calgary for the first time since March 27, 1999-Dec. 20, 2000. It’s prevailed by one goal or in a shootout in the past three matchups there.
The Flames and Coyotes meet for the final time in the regular season Tuesday night in Calgary.