Flames face challenge in surging Coyotes
The Phoenix Coyotes are playing their best hockey of the season, getting back-to-back hat tricks from players who had been struggling. The Calgary Flames witnessed it first hand late last week.
Phoenix tries to extend its winning streak to four with another victory over Calgary on Wednesday night (9:30 p.m. ET).
The Coyotes (7-5-5) haven't lost in regulation in their last five games, following a shootout loss and an overtime loss with three consecutive wins. Their first win streak of the season includes a victory Friday night at home against the Flames (7-9-0).
By The Numbers
Phoenix (7-5-5) —
Home record: 4-2-3
Road record: 3-3-2
Last 10 games: 5-3-2
Calgary (7-9-0) —
Home record: 4-4-0
Road record: 3-5-0
Last 10 games: 4-6-0
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Rink: Scotiabank Saddledome
Head to head: Coyotes-Flames
Vernon Fiddler had his first NHL hat trick to lead Phoenix to a 5-4 win, its third in four meetings with Calgary after going 6-16-1 in the previous 23 matchups.
Fiddler had not recorded a point since having an assist on opening night.
The Coyotes followed that victory with a 5-3 win over St. Louis on Saturday, this time getting a hat trick and a career high-tying five points from Ray Whitney, who had yet to score this season.
It was the first time the franchise had back-to-back hat tricks since Jeremy Roenick accomplished the feat in November 1999 against New Jersey and Colorado.
"We're finding ways to win," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said. "As a result, we're getting valuable points at home, so we need to find ways to pick up important points on the road."
The Coyotes also meet Edmonton and Vancouver on this three-game trip. They're 2-1-1 on the road after dropping three straight away from home.
Phoenix may be catching the Flames at just the right time as it tries to avoid a third straight loss in Calgary. The Flames have dropped six of seven following a 6-2-0 stretch.
After losing in Phoenix on Friday, Calgary fell 4-3 at San Jose the next night.
"It just seems that same old thing of one or two mistakes is really killing us, costing us games," said Flames defenceman Mark Giordano, who had a goal and an assist.
"We did a lot of good things, again. But a big goal here or there gave them momentum."
The Flames took a penalty in the opening minute of play that led to a goal.
"Here, we've lost six of our last seven and that urgency has to be there," Flames head coach Brent Sutter said. "We're only in the middle of November and we have to have that now."
'Last game was better'
Captain Jarome Iginla also scored for Calgary, his third of the season and first in eight games. He tied a career worst with a minus-4 rating last week against Phoenix.
"I haven't strung enough consistent games together," Iginla told the Flames' official website.
"Last game was better. But I need to start having those types of games night in, night out to help the club."
So does teammate Miikka Kiprusoff. He has a 3.47 goals-against average in his last seven starts and gave up four goals in Phoenix last week.
The Flames have lost three in a row at home after opening with four wins in five games at Scotiabank Saddledome.
"It's still early in the season, there's still time for us to catch up — it's not too late," Flames left wing Alex Tanguay said. "We're not in the crucial situation where it's February or March and you need to win or else you'll be out."