Coyotes send backup into fire vs. Flames

CALGARY, Alberta — Scott Wedgewood will make his fourth consecutive start in net for the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday against the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The 25-year-old rookie has been forced into action because of an upper-body injury that starting goalie Antti Raanta sustained in the first period of a 3-1 home loss to the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 22.

“I want to be a starter in this league,” Wedgewood said after stopping 24 shots in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Oilers at Edmonton on Tuesday. “Right now I have an opportunity to kind of take the role here waiting for Antti to come back. Obviously he’s been good for us.”

Despite giving up the game-winning goal to Edmonton forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at 4:20 of the extra session Tuesday, Wedgewood liked how the Coyotes played.

“I think the guys deserved that win,” said Wedgewood, who has compiled a 2-3-2 record this season to go with a 2.99 goals against-average and a .901 save percentage. “They played well in front of me and took away a high-powered offense — kept them to two goals and an overtime goal. We did great defensively. Overall, we walk out of (Edmonton) probably deserving that win if we play that way moving forward.”

As for when Raanta will return to the lineup, Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet gave the team website an update Wednesday.

“He’ll catch up with us back home,” said Tocchet, whose team will host the New Jersey Devils at the Gila River Arena on Saturday before playing a road game against the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday. “We’ll probably know more about (his recovery) on Friday. Scott will play (Thursday) and then we’ll make a decision after that. We have that back-to-back (this weekend). We’ll go from there.”

The Coyotes recalled Andrew Campbell from the AHL’s Tucson Roadrunners on Wednesday after fellow defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson left the Tuesday game in the second period because of an upper-body injury.

“He’s still going to be day-to-day, but the injury is a little bit worse than we thought,” Tocchet said of Hjalmarsson.

Calgary is also dealing with lower-body injuries to right wingers Kris Versteeg and Jaromir Jagr. While Versteeg was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, Jagr practiced with the Flames and could be ready to play against the Coyotes.

The Flames recalled Garnet Hathaway from the AHL’s Stockton Heat on Wednesday, and coach Glen Gulutzan said the right winger, who has 43 games of experience over the past three seasons with the Flames, didn’t look out of place at practice.

“Even watching him today, he looks a lot more comfortable than he did last year coming up,” said Gulutzan of Hathaway, who recorded 11 goals and eight assists in 19 games with the Heat before being called up. “It’s a good bolt of energy for us. We’ll see where we are with our injuries.”

After compiling a 3-2-1 record on their six-game road trip, the Flames lost 4-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in their return to the Saddledome on Tuesday. Following their game against the Coyotes on Thursday, the Flames will host the Oilers on Saturday before wrapping up their four-game homestand against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.

“We’ve got a couple games at home, and we’ve got to bounce back here quick,” Flames center Sean Monahan said.

Defenseman Michael Stone, who scored Calgary’s lone goal against Toronto, said he is glad the Flames don’t have to wait too long to put the disappointing loss to the Leafs behind them.

“That’s huge when you can learn from the games that you don’t play well in and you can get right back in the saddle and build on your game,” Stone said. “That’s what it’s all about.”