NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, December 4th (All times Eastern)
Phoenix Coyotes (16-7-4) at Calgary Flames (9-13-4), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Coyotes will try to maintain their scoring touch when they play on consecutive nights in Wednesday's road test against the Calgary Flames.
Phoenix began a four-game trip in impressive fashion on Tuesday, as the Coyotes slammed the Edmonton Oilers, 6-2, at Rexall Place. Mikkel Boedker and Mike Ribeiro each had one goal and two assists to help Phoenix match its highest goal output of the season. The Coyotes also scored six times in a 6-3 triumph over visiting Tampa Bay on Nov. 16, but then lost three of their next four games before Tuesday's rout in Edmonton.
Radim Vrbata, Shane Doan and David Moss each added one goal and an assist for the Coyotes and Keith Yandle also lit the lamp. Mike Smith stopped 31-of-33 shots in the victory after yielding four goals on 35 shots in Saturday's 5-2 home loss to Chicago.
"Obviously after the Chicago game, we wanted to make sure we came out and played more to our identity, especially on the road," said Coyotes coach Dave Tippett. "We're starting a tough trip, we wanted to come in and play well tonight. I thought for the most part, we did a lot of good things."
Coyotes backup goaltender Thomas Greiss could give Smith a rest tonight by getting the start in the second game on back-to-back nights. Greiss has one career appearance against Calgary, as he took the loss for San Jose in a 4-1 setback on March 6 of last season.
Phoenix is 7-5-2 on the road this season and will try to win its third straight as the guest in tonight's clash at the Saddledome. The Coyotes will continue this swing with Friday's outing in Vancouver before completing the trip Tuesday in Colorado.
The Flames recently halted a two-game slide with Saturday's road victory over Los Angeles, giving Calgary its third win in six games after suffering through an 0-5-1 drought from Nov. 5-16.
Mike Cammalleri's backhander with 23 seconds left lifted the Flames to a 2-1 win over the Kings on Saturday. Cammalleri took a pass from Mikael Backlund in front of the net and managed to shovel a backhander past Ben Scrivens as he fell to the ice. Flames rookie goaltender Karri Ramo was able to hold strong the rest of the way to seal the win.
Blair Jones also scored and Ramo made 21 saves in the win, which came with many of the fathers of the Flames' players in attendance at the Staples Center.
"To get the win was special. We wanted to get a big one for them (the fathers) tonight, and against a good team," Cammalleri said.
Calgary will try to make it two wins in a row on Wednesday, but the club hasn't been able to string together consecutive victories since beating Montreal and New Jersey on Oct. 9 and 11, respectively. That two-game stretch still stands as the Flames' only winning streak of the season.
There's a chance Mark Giordano could help the Flames secure a second straight win on Wednesday, as the defenseman nears his return from a broken ankle. Giordano has missed the last 18 games since suffering the injury on Oct. 21 in Los Angeles, but returned to practice recently and expects to be a game-time decision tonight.
"Gio looked very good and I asked him after practice and he had zero pain," Flames coach Bob Hartley said of Giordano after Tuesday's practice. "He's very close. Tomorrow, he'll be re-evaluated by the doctor and if the medical staff gives us the green light, well, he could be a strong possibility."
Despite playing in only eight games in 2013-14, Giordano still ranks third in scoring among Calgary defensemen this season with nine points on two goals and seven assists.
Beginning with tonight's tilt, the Flames are playing two straight and four of their next five games at home. Calgary is 4-5-3 at the Saddledome this season.
Phoenix recorded a 4-2 home win against the Flames on Oct. 22, but Calgary has claimed four of the past six encounters in this series overall and three straight at the Saddledome.
12/04 10:47:17 ET