NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, February 23rd (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (30-21-9) at Calgary Flames (28-23-9), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - An excellent February has helped get Phoenix into a share of first place in the Pacific Division. The Coyotes try to keep that run going this evening against a team that just had a successful run of its own come to an end as they visit the Calgary Flames.
The Coyotes have notched 17 of a possible 18 points this month, going 8-0-1 and winning three straight. Phoenix's point streak includes a 2-1 overtime victory over visiting Calgary on Feb. 9, with Shane Doan netting the game- winner and Mike Smith posting 22 saves. It was the Coyotes' fifth straight victory and seventh in their last eight versus the Flames. Phoenix has also won two straight and four of its past six in Calgary.
Phoenix's point streak looked as if it would come to an end on Tuesday versus visiting Los Angeles as the Coyotes fell behind by three goals in the first period. However, they notched a pair of power-play goals early on in the second to reverse momentum and also got the game-tying goal from Radim Vrbata while on the man advantage with 2:27 to play in the third.
Mikkel Boedker then had the game-deciding goal in the shootout to give Phoenix a 5-4 win. Vrbata ended with two goals and an assist, upping his career-high goal total to 30, while Doan also added two goals and Smith made 25 saves.
"This one felt really good tonight," said Doan. "We're on kind of a roll here, but to rally the way we did tonight, it's nice."
With the win, San Jose moved into a tie with San Jose for the top spot in the Pacific Division with 69 points despite missing a handful of skaters on Tuesday. Kyle Chipchura (upper body), Taylor Pyatt (upper body), Rostislav Klesla (upper body) and Derek Morris (personal) all missed the game and Gilbert Brule left early after taking a hit to the jaw that led to a match penalty versus the Kings.
General manager Don Maloney added a healthy body on Wednesday, sending two draft picks, including a 2012 second-round choice, and goaltender Curtis McElhinney to Columbus for center Antoinie Vermette.
Vermette had eight goals and 27 points in 60 games this season with the Blue Jackets.
"We are extremely pleased to acquire Antoine," Maloney said. "He is a smart, skilled, two-way center who will be a great addition to our lineup."
The Flames shootout loss to the Coyotes earlier this month was part of an eight-game point streak (5-0-3) that came to an end with Tuesday's 6-1 defeat to the visiting Oilers. The loss was with consequence as Calgary is now a point back of Los Angeles for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. Phoenix is seventh in the conference, four points ahead of Calgary.
Scott Hannan scored the only goal for the Flames and Miikka Kiprusoff was touched for five goals on 34 shots. Henrik Karlsson gave up one goal on eight shots after taking over in net at the start of the third period.
"We were flat physically, mentally and emotionally," Flames head coach Brent Sutter said. "We just didn't have a push at all tonight."
Calgary lost the opener of a four-game homestand and announced on Wednesday that defenseman Chris Butler will miss three weeks with a left thigh laceration suffered versus the Oilers.
02/23 10:36:32 ET