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Flames head into desert to face struggling Coyotes

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The Sports Network
1/7/2014 12:22:58 PM
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A pair of struggling Pacific Division clubs will meet tonight in the desert, as the Phoenix Coyotes host the Calgary Flames at Jobing.com Arena.

While Calgary has lost five in a row, the Coyotes have dropped two straight, five of six and eight of their last 10 games. Phoenix appeared on its way to a win in Saturday's home tilt against Philadelphia before allowing the Flyers to rally for a 5-3 decision.

The Flames have fared well against Phoenix recently, taking three of four and five of the last seven meetings in this series overall. The Coyotes, however, have won two in a row and seven of the past eight encounters at Jobing.com Arena.

Calgary halted a four-game slide with Monday's win at Colorado, picking up just its second win in 10 trips to the ice. Another victory on Tuesday would give the Flames their first set of consecutive wins since they beat Carolina and Buffalo on Dec. 12 and 14, respectively.

The Flames, who are in 13th place out of 14 teams in the Western Conference, used a Mike Cammalleri power-play goal with 3:30 to play on Monday to down the Avalanche by a 4-3 score.

Jiri Hudler and Joe Colborne each had a goal and an assist, while Sean Monahan scored the other goal for the Flames, who won for just the third time in their past 11 games. Karri Ramo stopped 22 shots in the win.

"I thought it started with our power play tonight," said Cammalleri. "Our competition level was better and we were able to stick with our game plan. We did a really good job with faceoffs tonight and one-on-one battles."

Reto Berra could get the call in net for the Flames on Tuesday. He has never faced the Coyotes.

The Flames are 8-10-3 as the visiting team this season and will complete a brief two-game swing tonight.

The Coyotes led the Flyers by scores of 2-0 and 3-1 on Saturday, but Philly notched the final four goals of the contest to win it in regulation.

Rob Klinkhammer, Lauri Korpikoski and Mikkel Boedker tallied for the Coyotes, who failed to receive a boost from the return of captain Shane Doan. Doan had been sidelined for a month while battling Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The veteran winger failed to register a point in 18 minutes, 38 seconds of ice time during his first outing since Dec. 4.

Mike Smith gave up four goals on 27 shots to lose his fourth straight decision.

"When you make mistakes and your goaltender is not cleaning them up, you end up where we're at," said Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett.

The Coyotes played Saturday without key defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and he expects to miss another tilt on Tuesday due to his upper-body injury. Ekman- Larsson, who has four goals and 22 points in 40 games this season, could return later this week, according to Tippett.

Thomas Greiss could get the call in net for Phoenix on Tuesday, although he is 0-2-0 with a 3.55 goals against average in two career games versus the Flames. Calgary scored four time against Greiss in a 4-1 home victory over the Coyotes on Dec. 4.

Jiri Hudler (Photo: Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
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