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Flames-Coyotes Preview @NHLdotcom

The Calgary Flames hold the final playoff spot in the Western Conference despite being tied for the fewest road wins in the NHL.

Recording one of those rare victories may be easier Thursday when they visit the Phoenix Coyotes, who they've dominated recently.

The Flames (31-21-8) have lost a season-high six straight on the road, including a 4-3 defeat to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. Three of those losses have come beyond regulation and all but one has been decided by one goal.

Calgary is just 7-15-7 on the road and hasn't lost seven in a row there since Nov. 7-Dec. 1, 2002. The Flames' 24-6-1 mark at home has helped them maintain the eighth spot in the West with 70 total points, eight ahead of ninth-place Colorado and 17 more than Phoenix.

Calgary has outscored Phoenix 12-4 in two victories this season, killing off all 12 of the Coyotes' power plays while converting 35.3 percent (6-for-17) of its own. The Flames have won four straight matchups between the teams and 10 of the last 12.

Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has been in goal for both wins over the Coyotes (25-32-3) and is 6-1-0 with a 1.36 goals-against average in his last seven appearances against them. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner allowed four or more goals for the ninth time this season on Tuesday, though, as the Flames dropped to 1-5-3 in those contests.

Kristian Huselius and Dion Phaneuf each had a power-play goal and an assist for Calgary in the defeat. The Flames allowed three power-play goals, including Marek Svatos' game-winner in the third period when Jarome Iginla was off for holding.

"It was a dumb penalty by me," said Iginla, who leads the Flames with 67 points. "I shouldn't put us in a situation like that. It was just a dumb penalty."

The Flames' captain played smart in his last matchup with the Coyotes, recording two goals and two assists in a 6-3 win on Dec. 16. He has a five-game point streak against them with six goals and four assists during that stretch.

Phoenix is trying to avoid its first seven-game losing streak since March 13-26, 2000. The Coyotes have been outscored 27-13 in six consecutive losses, the most recent a 4-1 defeat to the Nashville Predators on Monday.

They are converting just 7.7 percent (2-for-26) of their extra-man advantages during the skid while thwarting only 71.4 percent (20 of 28) of opponents' chances.

"Right now, we have too many weak links and too many guys not paying the price," Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said.

The Coyotes allowed four consecutive goals through the first 26 minutes Monday, and Oleg Saprykin scored their only goal with less than three minutes remaining. Phoenix was outshot 35-23, including 12-5 in the final period.

Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski left the game after taking a puck to the collarbone in the third period. His status is uncertain for this matchup, but Gretzky wasn't too worried after the game.

"He got a little bit lucky that he didn't get hit that bad, or in a worse spot," Gretzky said. "Looks like he'll be okay."

Phoenix netminder Curtis Joseph is 26-9-0 with three ties and a 2.41 GAA in 40 career games versus the Flames - his second-most wins against any opponent. Mikael Tellqvist may get the nod Thursday, though, as the goalies have been alternating starts recently.

These teams close out their season series Monday in Calgary. Phoenix is idle until then while the Flames host San Jose on Saturday.

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