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Coyotes visit Calgary in key Western showdown

by John Kreiser
COYOTES (35-25-11) at FLAMES (33-25-12)


Last 10:
Phoenix 4-4-2; Calgary 5-2-3

Season Series:
It's the fourth and final game of the season, with the Coyotes winning the first two and the Flames winning 4-2 in Glendale, Ariz., on March 1 in the most recent meeting. Phoenix has won its last three visits to Scotiabank Saddledome.

Big Story: The intensity should be ratcheted up a few extra notches at Scotiabank Saddledome as the Coyotes try to hang onto their place among the top eight in the West and the Flames try desperately to get in. Phoenix enters the night in seventh place, one point ahead of eighth-place Colorado and three in front of the Flames, Kings and Sharks.

Team Scope:

Coyotes: Phoenix is one of the NHL's best-coached, most-resilient teams -- and they showed why on Wednesday night when they dog their way out of an early 2-0 hole for a 5-4 win at Vancouver. The Canucks led by two goals less than 10 minutes into the game but tied the game before the first period was over. Gilbert Brule scored late in the second period to break a 3-3 tie, and a third-period goal by Antoine Vermette proved to be the game-winner.

Flames: Tuesday's 3-2 overtime win against San Jose kept the Flames in the middle of the playoff race entering a key back-to-back stretch against Phoenix and Edmonton. They did it without sniper Curtis Glencross, whose seven-game goal-scoring streak ended when he was assessed a boarding major and a game misconduct late in the first period for a hit on the Sharks' Jason Demers.

The good news for the Flames is that the NHL said Wednesday there would be no supplementary discipline -- meaning that Glencross will be in the lineup against the Coyotes.

"I was obviously disappointed about that, just the way you had to go out," Glencross said. "You had two more periods to try to get one more, but at the end of the night, we still our two points -- and we'll move on to the next game.

"It's time to maybe get another streak going."

Who's Hot: Antoine Vermette scored the winning goal on Tuesday and has six points in the Coyotes' last five games. … Flames captain Jarome Iginla has scored six times during a five-game goal-scoring streak and 13 points in a seven-game points streak.

Injury Report: Radim Vrbata, the Coyotes' top goal-scorer, was a late scratch Wednesday with an illness; he's likely to be a game-time decision. Phoenix is also missing top-line center Martin Hanzal (wrist), and defenseman Adrian Aucoin told the upper-body injury that forced him out of Wednesday's game will likely keep him out of Thursday's game. … The Flames are expected to be without defensemen T.J. Brodie (upper body) and Chris Butler (leg), as well as forwards Tim Jackman (upper body), Michael Cammalleri (upper body) and Mikael Backlund (arm).

Stat Pack: Calgary has scored the first goal in 11 of its last 12 games. … Iginla scored his 30th goal on Tuesday, extending his streak of 30-goal seasons to 11. … The Coyotes have allowed the first two goals in 10 of their last 12 games; they've won three and lost another in a shootout.

Puck Drop: Shane Doan's goal late in the first period tied the game at 2-2, but Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said it was the biggest one of the night. Doan kept jamming away after deking goaltender Robert Luongo to the ice and finally got the puck to go over the goal line.

"It was led by Shane Doan tonight," Tippett said. "That second goal epitomizes Shane and what he brings to our team. It was just a goal he wasn't going to be denied and the reaction on our bench showed that, the will he has to get the job done lifts our whole team. That was a huge turning point for our team.

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