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Coyotes-Flames Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Phoenix Coyotes (36-35-4) at Calgary Flames (42-24-9).

TIME: Wednesday, 10 p.m. EDT.

With a three-point lead in the race for the third seed in the Western Conference, the Calgary Flames continue their push for the Northwest Division title when they host the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Flames have created a small amount of breathing room atop the Northwest with a three-game winning streak that includes key victories over division rivals Colorado on Friday and Edmonton on Saturday.

Calgary, though, had it lead over the Avalanche cut from five points to three with a 2-1 shootout loss to Detroit on Monday. Colorado scored two goals in the final 58 seconds of regulation to defeat Chicago 4-3 the same night.

Miikka Kiprusoff kept the Flames in it against the Red Wings, stopping 41 shots before the shootout. He turned away three shots during a Detroit power play in overtime, but consecutive goals by Pavel Datsyuk and Jason Williams in the shootout gave Detroit its ninth straight road win.

"That's tough for Miikka," said Calgary center Matthew Lombardi, who was stopped by Chris Osgood on his shootout attempt, along with Jarome Iginla. "He played such a good game and then to have that at the end."

Calgary rookie defenseman Dion Phaneuf scored his 18th goal of the season in the first period, tying the franchise record for goals by a first-year defenseman set by Gary Suter in 1985-86.

The Flames have seven games remaining. Four are at home, including the finale against Colorado on April 13.

After hosting Minnesota on Friday, the Flames play at Vancouver on Saturday. The Canucks are only six points behind Calgary in the tightly bunched Northwest, and sit in eight place in the conference.

Despite having little chance of making the playoffs, the Coyotes are in the midst of one of their best stretches of the season with six wins in their last eight games. Phoenix's three-game winning streak ended Monday night in ugly fashion, though, as the Coyotes lost 7-1 to the Oilers.

Four second-period goals by Edmonton put the game out of reach for the Coyotes. With Phoenix trailing 6-1, David LeNeveu replaced Curtis Joseph in goal for the final period.

"We didn't have our sharpness tonight," said Joseph. "I didn't have my 'A' game."

The loss ended the Coyotes' four-game road winning streak.

Steve Reinprecht has seven goals and seven assists during the Coyotes' 6-2 stretch, while Mike Comrie, who scored the only Phoenix goal in Monday's loss, has six goals in those eight games.

STANDINGS: Coyotes - 76 points, 5th place, 27 PB, Pacific Division. Flames - 93 points, 1st place, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Coyotes - Comrie, 28 goals; Ladislav Nagy, 41 assists; Shane Doan, 60 points and 118 PIM. Flames - Iginla, 32 goals and 60 points; Daymond Langkow, 29 assists; Darren McCarty, 111 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Coyotes - Power play: 17.9 percent (88 for 491), 15th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.1 percent (377 for 465), 22nd. Flames - Power play: 18.4 percent (81 for 439), 9th. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent (388 for 461), 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Coyotes - Joseph (30-21-2, 2 SO, 3.04 GAA); LeNeveu (3-6-2, 3.34). Flames - Kiprusoff (38-20-9, 8, 2.15); Brian Boucher (4-7-0, 4.16).

SEASON SERIES: Coyotes, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 10; Flames, 4-3. At Glendale, Ariz., the Flames scored two power-play goals and Iginla converted a penalty shot early in the third period for the winner.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Coyotes - 18-18-1 on the road; Flames - 26-7-4 at home.

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