Coyotes-Flames Preview

The Associated Press

The Phoenix Coyotes just blew a great opportunity to pick up two points.

That wasn't the case earlier this week against the Calgary Flames.

Phoenix will try to rebound from a tough loss on Sunday night when its western Canada trip continues in Calgary.

Up 2-0 in the second period on goals from Kyle Chipchura and Matthew Lombardi, who returned after missing 12 games with a shoulder injury, the Coyotes (8-6-3) began their three-game trip Saturday with a 3-2 shootout loss to Edmonton.

"We just kept giving them the puck back, and when you keep giving them the puck back they're going to do good things with it," said coach Dave Tippett, whose team has just two regulation losses in its last 12 games. "We had lots of try in our game but we just kept making mistakes that fed their transition going the other way.

"We'll take the point in the shootout, but that's a game I'd like to see our team lock down and put away."

The Coyotes did just that in their previous game, Monday's 4-0 victory over Calgary. Mikkel Boedker, Antoine Vermette and Raffi Torres put third-period goals past Danny Taylor, who made 33 saves in his first NHL start.

Mike Smith, who turned aside all 30 shots he saw in that contest, has gone 6-2-2 with a 2.02 goals-against average while starting Phoenix's last 10 games. The Coyotes have killed 28 of 32 penalties in that stretch.

Phoenix, though, has been dreadful on the power play in that span, converting just four of 40 chances.

"We had opportunities on the power play and we didn't capitalize on them," captain Shane Doan said Saturday after Phoenix went 1 for 7 with the man advantage. "We have to be better than that.''

Radim Vrbata, who has a team-best seven power-play points, could help, but he's missed the last two games with a lower-body injury and is day-to-day. So is center Martin Hanzal, the Coyotes' leader with seven goals, who didn't play Saturday due to an upper-body injury.

"We've got some regulars out, but we expect the people that are in there to do the job for us," Tippett said.

The Flames (6-7-3) finally got the job done on Saturday, beating Minnesota 3-1 after totaling one goal while losing their previous two.

Center Matt Stajan scored twice in the third period, including an empty-netter with 8.2 seconds left, after coach Bob Hartley moved him to the top line between captain Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay, who also scored.

Hartley called Stajan "one of our most consistent forwards all season," but the center was certainly surprised about his first multigoal game since Dec. 12, 2009, with Toronto.

"It seems like a while since I've had two in a game, but I'll take it," Stajan told the NHL's official website. "That's a big win. It doesn't matter about personal stuff right now. We need to find ways to win and if we're winning games, it benefits everybody in here."

Hartley also has to be pleased with Joey MacDonald, who stopped 30 of 31 shots on Saturday after surrendering three goals apiece in his first three starts since being claimed off waivers two weeks ago.

If MacDonald gets the nod on Sunday when the Flames close out their three-game homestand, it will be his second career start versus Phoenix.

Tanguay has found the back of the net in each of the Coyotes' last three visits, including in a 4-1 victory on March 15 that ended Phoenix's three-game road winning streak in this series. Stajan and Iginla both scored in that contest.

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