SUN Hockey Pool

Flames Game Day

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

COMING IN

Losing to the Anaheim Ducks for the second time in less than a week, the Flames followed up with a 2-0 shutout the next night thanks to the stellar play of G Miikka Kiprusoff.

After blanking the Dallas Stars 1-0 Wednesday night, the Coyotes started strong against the Canucks Thursday but gave up three third-period goals to blow a 3-1 lead, losing 4-3.

HEAD TO HEAD

The Coyotes have a 2-1 advantage heading into the last game of the season series, but the Flames have won three straight as visitors to Arizona.

SPECIAL TEAMS

POWERPLAY -- Calgary 18.6% (47-252, 16th); Phoenix 13.9% (33-238, T-28th).

PENALTY KILLING -- Calgary 86.0% (T-3rd); Phoenix 79.2% (23rd).

INJURIES

CALGARY -- C Wayne Primeau (foot), D Jim Vandermeer (ankle), D Rhett Warrener (shoulder) are out.

PHOENIX -- C Martin Hanzal (shoulder) and C Peter Mueller (concussion) are questionable. D Kurt Sauer is out.

-- Steve Macfarlane

After blanking the Dallas Stars 1-0 Wednesday night, the Coyotes started strong against the Canucks Thursday but gave up three third-period goals to blow a 3-1 lead, losing 4-3.

HEAD TO HEAD

The Coyotes have a 2-1 advantage heading into the last game of the season series, but the Flames have won three straight as visitors to Arizona.

SPECIAL TEAMS

POWERPLAY -- Calgary 18.6% (47-252, 16th); Phoenix 13.9% (33-238, T-28th).

PENALTY KILLING -- Calgary 86.0% (T-3rd); Phoenix 79.2% (23rd).

INJURIES

CALGARY -- C Wayne Primeau (foot), D Jim Vandermeer (ankle), D Rhett Warrener (shoulder) are out.

PHOENIX -- C Martin Hanzal (shoulder) and C Peter Mueller (concussion) are questionable. D Kurt Sauer is out.

PLAYERS TO KEEP YOUR EYE ON ...

FLAMES

D Cory Sarich -- Two assists and a plus-four rating for the lanky defender over the past four games. Sarich saw his minutes climb to 24:02 Thursday night in Los Angeles as a key penalty killer, but his offensive game is coming around, too. He's been told to take more initiative around the opposition blueline and career numbers are a good possibility with a goal and 12 points through 55 games so far.

COYOTES

RW Enver Lisin -- The 22-year-old Russian taken by the Coyotes 50th overall in the second round in the 2004 draft has scored in two straight games. Another of the team's promising young stars, Lisin's coming into his own in his third season in North America with 10 goals and 17 points in 39 games this year. Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky believes he might be the fastest player in the NHL.

THREE STORYLINES TO WATCH

1. WILL IGINLA CATCH FIRE?: The Flames captain has enjoyed a lot of success in the desert over the years. Iginla has struggled of late, scoring just two goals in his last 18 games, and is on pace for his lowest goal total since 1999-2000. His point-per-game pace is nice, but Iggy is expected to be a goal-scorer.

2. MIIKKA IN THE ZONE: Turning away 73 of 76 shots over two games in Southern California, Miikka Kiprusoff is on a hot streak. His defence is not. And while the Flames goalie could use some more help, he's shown the ability to steal games once again. After an off-day, it's likely Kiprusoff will get his third start in four nights.

3. WILL ANYBODY WATCH?: Averaging fewer than 15,000 fans per game (and that's just the announced attendance), the Coyotes rank 27th in the league in terms of bodies in the seats. They're slashing prices for the rest of the season, but with the on-ice product suffering lately, they could use another strong stretch of games to get interest back up.

IT'S WORTH NOTING ...

One of the most interesting things about the Phoenix Coyotes under head coach Wayne Gretzky has been the willingness to develop young players in the NHL. Wavering a bit on that policy, they sent rookie C Kyle Turris to the AHL San Antonio Rampage this week. Turris, the third-overall pick in the 2007 draft, had six goals and 16 points in 50 games but was a minus-14 and averaging 12:31 minutes a game. "It's really pretty simple -- he's not getting the ice time and minutes he needs to improve as a player, and we just felt in the best interests of the young man, it was best for him to go down and play and play good minutes," Gretzky told the Arizona Republic. "He works hard, he wants to play well, and he's a tremendous young man. He's going to be a great player, but it doesn't do him any good in his development if he's only playing 10 minutes a game or every so often, he's sitting in the press box." Turris might not have been ready for an NHL workload after playing 36 games with the University of Wisconsin in 2007-08, and 110 over two seasons in the BCHL with the junior A Burnaby Express. "As I told him, it's a bump in the road," Gretzky said. "Although he's probably not happy about it today, years from now he'll look back at it and probably agree that it was the best decision for him in his development of his career." ...

The Coyotes have won just twice in 10 games since beating the Flames at the Saddledome Jan. 17 ... Flames coach Mike Keenan passed Pat Quinn for fourth in all-time wins with the victory over the Kings in Los Angeles Thursday night. Keenan now has 658 ... D David Hale's wife is expecting a baby, so the Coyotes recalled D David Schlemko from San Antonio just in case Hale gets called away ... Coyotes RW Peter Mueller was activated from injured reserve yesterday and could suit up against the Flames tonight ... G Ilya Bryzgalov had the day off yesterday, but will get the start against the Flames. Bryzgalov has started 15 consecutive contests for the Coyotes.


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