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Flames' Hiller in goal vs. Coyotes

Calgary goalie starting on 34th birthday; Arizona considering seven defensemen

by Jerry Brown / Correspondent

FLAMES (25-25-3) at COYOTES (24-23-6) 

TV: 9 p.m. ET; SNW, FS-A, NHL.TV 

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Calgary Flames goalie Jonas Hiller will celebrate his 34th birthday with a start in goal against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Friday. 

Hiller replaced the injured Karri Ramo with three minutes left in regulation Thursday. He made eight saves in regulation and overtime and three saves in the shootout in a 6-5 win against the Sharks. It was the Flames' third straight victory. 

Upon entering the game Hiller had to face a two-minute 5-on-3 Sharks power play. 

"[Hiller] gave us the win," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said Thursday. "He was our best penalty killer coming right off the bench. What did he play? Three minutes? He got player of the game. Those were three big minutes." 

Ramo, who has a lower-body injury, was placed on injured reserve Friday. The Flames recalled goaltender Joni Ortio from Stockton of the American Hockey League to replace Ramo. 

The Flames also will be without forward David Jones, who blocked a shot with his leg in the first period Thursday and didn't return to the game. 

Arizona has lost five straight games (0-4-1) and fallen four points behind the Nashville Predators for the final wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference. 

Coyotes coach Dave Tippett made the importance of this game plain. 

"After letting the Vancouver game slip away [a 2-1 loss Wednesday], now you have another team right there with you in the standings," he said. "This is one of those games where your top players really have to be top players. Everybody needs to pitch in, but our top players really need to take a hold of a game like this and move us forward." 

 Arizona will stick with Louis Domingue in goal. He has struggled recently, allowing 17 goals in his past four games, but he played a strong game against the Canucks on Wednesday. He made 26 saves but the game-winning goal deflected off two of his teammates along the way. 

"[Domingue] played well and made a couple of key saves when we were chasing the game to keep us in in," Tippett said. "We'll go back with him tonight and hope he gives us a good performance." 

Here are the projected lineups: 

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler  
Sam Bennett - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik  
Micheal Ferland - Markus Granlund - Joe Colborne  
Lance Bouma - Matt Stajan - Josh Jooris  

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie  
Kris Russell - Dougie Hamilton  
Ladislav Smid - Deryk Engelland  
Injured: David Jones (lower body), Karri Ramo (lower body) 
Scratched: Jakub Nakladal, Brandon Bollig  
Suspended: Dennis Wideman 
Tobias Rieder - Antoine Vermette - Mikkel Boedker  
Max Domi - Martin Hanzal - Anthony Duclair  
Jordan Martinook - Brad Richardson - Shane Doan  
Kyle Chipchura - Tyler Gaudet  
Oliver Ekman-Larsson - Connor Murphy  
Klas Dahlbeck - Zbynek Michalek  
Nicklas Grossmann - Michael Stone  
Kevin Connauton  
Louis Domingue 
Anders Lindback  
Injured: Boyd Gordon (upper body), Mike Smith (abdominal surgery), Joe Vitale (fractured orbital bone). 
Scratched: Jarred Tinordi, Viktor Tikhonov  
Status report: The Flames did not skate Friday morning. … The Coyotes played seven defensemen against the Canucks and Tippett said he was leaning toward staying with that lineup after an optional skate Friday. "With the way our [defense] is, you're looking for that balance of having power play, penalty killers, puck movers and defenders on the ice in certain situations," Tippett said. "You look at the players we have and the best option is to have that balance and get a [Shane] Doan or a [Mikkel] Boedker some extra ice time." 
Who's hot: Hanzal and Ekman-Larsson each have two goals in two games against the Flames this season, accounting for all the scoring two 2-1 wins. … The Coyotes are 9-2-3 when Ekman-Larsson scores a goal. … Doan needs one point to tie Dale Hawerchuk (929) for the Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets record.


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