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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 15th (All times Eastern)

Calgary Flames (27-33-7) at Phoenix Coyotes (31-25-11), 10 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Following a split of a four-game road trip out east, the Phoenix Coyotes return home on Saturday night to take on the Calgary Flames and attempt to keep pace in the playoff race.

The Coyotes were looking to close out their trip with three victories in four games as they headed into Thursday night's meeting with Boston off wins at Tampa Bay and Florida, but managed just a single goal in a 2-1 setback to the Bruins.

Phoenix outshot Boston 22-20, but just two of those shots came in the second period and the Bruins carried a 2-0 edge into the third period. Lauri Korpikoski got the Coyotes on the board at the 8:14 mark when he tipped home a shot from the point by Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but Phoenix couldn't convert any of its 11 other chances into goals.

"It would have been huge to beat a good team like Boston, and we had the chance. We just didn't play well enough," said Korpikoski.

Skating in his 1,300th career game, Shane Doan had an assist, while goaltender Mike Smith finished with 18 saves.

The Coyotes enter play two points back of the Dallas Stars for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference and are expected to be without forward Martin Erat. He missed Thursday's game with an upper-body injury, while Martin Hanzal remains sidelined with a lower-body ailment. His status is unknown.

The Flames actually prevented the Stars from extending their lead by another point over the Coyotes but picking up a 4-3 shootout victory in Dallas. Calgary trailed by two goals going into the third frame, but rallied to tie things before Corban Knight potted the deciding marker in the fourth round of the shootout.

Mike Cammalleri scored twice, including the tying goal in the third period, and Paul Byron also scored for the Flames, who have won two straight and four of their last six.

"It was a great third period and a great comeback," said Calgary head coach Bob Hartley. "We had some good parts in the first and second, but we made some mistakes on our goals and they made us pay for it. They're a dangerous team, but we never quit and that's why this group is so special."

Joey MacDonald finished the game with 22 stops as he made his first start in the NHL since Nov. 1.

Rookie Joni Ortio is likely to start tonight for his seventh NHL start and first versus Coyotes.

The Flames and Coyotes have split four previous meetings this season, with each team winning twice at home.

Phoenix logged a 6-0 victory in the most recent encounter in the desert on Jan. 7 and has won eight of the last nine contests on home ice in this series.

Smith is 5-4-1 with a 2.55 goals against average in 10 previous games versus the Flames.

03/15 10:41:06 ET

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