Wednesday NHL: Coyotes (100 points) at Flames (85 points)
With only six games remaining and Calgary four points out of the West’s final playoff spot, the Flames probably need to go 5-1 down the stretch if not win out to have any chance of sneaking into the postseason. Test No. 1 begins Wednesday night against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Calgary is basically a one-man team: Jarome Iginla (team-leading 32 goals and 69 points). But he has just one goal and five assists in the last 10 games. So either he goes on a hot streak in the final two weeks or the Flames can make tee times.
“I have high expectations of myself, always have,” Iginla said. “We have six games left and need everybody to look at themselves to bring a lot. We all need to be impact players, and we have to approach it, not to wait for somebody else to do it.”
The Flames just finished a three-game road trip with losses to the lousy Islanders and Bruins before then beating East-leading Capitals 5-3 on Sunday. Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who was pulled in the third period of the loss to the Bruins, made 31 saves against the Capitals as Calgary won in Washington for the first time in 11 years.
The Coyotes are in the playoffs but still hoping to catch San Jose for the No. 1 seed in the West. Tuesday night’s 4-1 loss to Vancouver won’t help matters. Phoenix lost for the third time in 13 games (10-2-1) to remain four points behind San Jose for the Pacific Division and Western Conference leads. The Coyotes were playing their first game since clinching their first playoff berth since 2002 and first 100-point season in franchise history. Backup goalie Jason LaBarbera may start against the Flames because No. 1 Ilya Bryzgalov has seen a lot of minutes this season and wasn’t at his best in the loss at Vancouver.
Tonight’s game will be the fourth and final game of a season series. The home team has won the previous three, with Calgary taking 2-1 win at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Nov. 25.