In his third season as their coach, Wayne Gretzky has turned the Phoenix Coyotes into playoff contenders.
Fresh off his 100th win, Gretzky will try to lead the Coyotes to their fourth straight victory overall as they host the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.
Gretzky, the NHL's all-time scoring leader with 894 goals and 1,963 assists, took over as Phoenix's coach before the 2005-06 season, winning 38 games in his first campaign before slumping to 31 in 2006-07. He reached the milestone on Monday against a team he used to play for, beating Los Angeles 4-0.
"I don't really worry about that kind of stuff," Gretzky said. "We're doing a lot better than anybody anticipated."
The Coyotes (31-25-4), who haven't reached the postseason since 2002, are tied with Calgary and Vancouver for seventh in the Western Conference.
Phoenix has scored 13 goals during its winning streak.
"Part of it is luck and right now we are lucky," Gretzky said.
Surprising Radim Vrbata has helped to key the Coyotes' current run, scoring in each of the three wins. He also had two assists on Monday, helping Phoenix complete a home-and-home sweep of the NHL's worst club.
"It's consistency," said Vrbata, who leads the Coyotes with 27 goals. "We try to play the same way every game. We've been clicking. We just want to keep it going the same way. Every game is like the playoffs for us."
Mikael Tellqvist started in place of Ilya Bryzgalov and stopped 34 shots for his second shutout this season and sixth of his career. However, Gretzky might think twice about putting Tellqvist back in goal against the Flames - he is 1-2-0 with a 4.00 goals-against average in three career starts against them.
However, Bryzgalov, who has won his last two starts after going 0-3-2 in his previous six, hasn't been much better. He's 1-3-1 with a 2.73 GAA in five career starts against the Flames (29-22-8).
Phoenix has split its last four against Calgary, and is 1-0-1 against the Flames this season with both meetings coming on the road. In the last 16 matchups, however, the Coyotes are just 4-11-1.
The Flames lost 4-2 in Anaheim on Sunday, falling to 1-2-0 on their current five-game road trip. Daymond Langkow and Wayne Primeau scored for the Flames, who yielded all four goals in the second period.
"You can't win if you don't play a full 60 minutes, whether you start bad or have a lull in the middle," defenseman Dion Phaneuf said. "It just doesn't work in this league, and it showed again tonight."
Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, who has played in all but two of the Flames' 59 games, struggled through his second straight difficult outing. He was lifted for Curtis Joseph before the third period against the Ducks after allowing six goals in Friday's 6-3 defeat in Los Angeles.
Joseph made his second appearance after signing with Calgary as a free agent on Jan. 17.
"We didn't stop pushing. Hopefully we can carry that through to the next game," Primeau told the Flames' official Web site.