The Phoenix Coyotes will look to advance from the cusp of contention in the Western Conference when they host the Calgary Flames on Thursday night, at Jobing.com Arena. The Yotes head into Thursday's tilt sitting in eighth in the West, trailing these Flames by two points in the standings.
Phoenix will be shorthanded on Thursday, just as they were on Tuesday, though the list has gotten longer since then. Martin Hanzal, Ray Whitney, and Derek Morris are all questionable with lower-body injuries, while new defenseman Rostislav Klesla took a puck to the face against Vancouver on Tuesday.
Ilya Bryzgalov will be between the pipes, given the alternative of having Jason LaBarbera spell him in the crease. Bryz has won both of his starts against Calgary this season, posting a 2.50 GAA.
Calgary has been one of the NHL's best teams since the All Star break, storming back into the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. They've won eight of their last 11 on the road, and 16 of 22 overall. The Flames' 81 points are tied with the Chicago Blackhawks, but Chicago has the tiebreaker.
After losing five in a row before Saturday's win over the Detroit Red Wings, the Coyotes have managed to get points in their last two. They got the two in the shootout win over the Wings, before managing to snag a point in the overtime loss to the Canucks on Tuesday.
Given that the Minnesota Wild trail the Coyotes by just two points in the West, Thursday presents an especially crucial contest for these Yotes, who run the danger of falling out of the top eight, despite being as high as third just a few weeks ago.
Our own Five For Howling will have all the in-game action when the puck drops at 7 P.M. in the desert.