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Coyotes return home to host struggling Flames

by John Kreiser

FLAMES (26-20-7) at COYOTES (30-18-5)

Last 10 -- Calgary 1-7-2; Phoenix 5-4-1

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the third time this season. The home team won the first two, both by 2-1 scores. Calgary beat the Coyotes at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Nov. 25, and the Coyotes returned the favor at Arena on Dec. 3.

Big story -- There are wins, and then there are wins. The Coyotes' 5-4 overtime victory at Detroit on Tuesday was the latter. Phoenix trailed 4-2 before scoring two sixth-attacker goals in the final 90 seconds to tie the game, then got the winner from Shane Doan with 1:10 left in overtime. In contrast, the Flames are coming off a painful 4-3 shootout loss at Dallas on Wednesday in which they couldn't hold a 3-1 lead. The Flames are 0-6-2 in their last eight, though the single point did put them back into eighth place in the West.

Team Scope:

Flames -- Calgary has had all kinds of trouble scoring goals -- the Flames were blanked 2-0 at home by St. Louis before traveling to Dallas. So when Olli Jokinen connected at 11:47 of the second period to give the Flames a 3-1 lead, things looked good. But James Neal scored late in the second period, and Brad Richards tied it with a 5-on-3 goal in the third to force OT.

"For two periods we were on our game," Flames coach Brent Sutter said. "It was the last goal in the last minute (of the second period) that we gave up. That put us on our heels in the third period. It allowed them to dictate play in the third. When you're up 3-1, you've got to win that game."

Coyotes -- The 'Yotes may not have needed a plane to fly home after Tuesday's comeback victory in Detroit.

But the happiest Coyote may have been captain Shane Doan, whose penalty set up Nicklas Lidstrom's power-play goal that made it 4-2 with less than five minutes to play. He assisted on goals by Keith Yandle and Ed Jovanovski, then beat Jimmy Howard for the winner.

"I got to the net, there was a rebound," Doan said. "I kind of took it to the forehand and found a way to put it in."

Who's hot -- No Flame is tearing up the League, but Calgary captain Jarome Iginla had a goal and an assist at Dallas. … Doan had a four-point night in Detroit and has 10 points in his last four games. Matthew Lombardi has a goal and 4 assists in his last four games.

Injury report -- The Flames are without forwards David Moss (undisclosed) and Nigel Dawes (leg), who are on injured reserve. Center Craig Conroy didn't play Wednesday due to a knee injury. … Phoenix is healthy except for defenseman Kurt Sauer, who's missed almost all of the season with a head injury.

Stat pack -- Scoring first usually means a win, and no one does more with first goals than the Coyotes. Phoenix leads the NHL with a .852 winning percentage when scoring first. In contrast, the Flames haven't done a good job turning first goals into victories. Their .636 winning percentage when scoring first is 21st among 30 teams.

Puck drop -- The Coyotes have to avoid a letdown after their emotional win at Detroit on Tuesday. But they're catching a slumping team on the second night of a back-to-back on the road, so this would appear to be a prime time for the 'Yotes to add to their superb (19-8-2) record at Arena.

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