Despite their goaltending situation undergoing constant change, the Calgary Flames appear to be building confidence with solid play on the road.
The Phoenix Coyotes are coming on strong as well after a tough start.
Calgary looks to prevent Phoenix from a sixth victory in its last eight tries by winning a third straight meeting between these teams Monday night in Arizona.
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Miikka Kiprusoff likely will miss at least another week with a groin injury, and backup Leland Irving was sent down to Abbotsford of the AHL after giving up two goals on four shots in Friday’s 5-2 loss to St. Louis.
Joey MacDonald, claimed off waivers from Detroit last Monday, relieved Irving before making his first start for Calgary (5-5-3) in Sunday’s come-from-behind 4-3 win at Dallas.
“It’s been a long time and it’s been frustrating, ups and downs, good days, bad days,” said MacDonald, who made 27 saves in his first NHL start since March 14. “I felt pretty good in there for not playing in a while.”
There’s a good chance, though, that Danny Taylor, who replaced Irving, will make his first career NHL start Monday in the second of a back-to-back. Taylor leads the AHL with a 1.82 goals-against average.
The Flames, who overcame a two-goal third-period deficit Sunday to improve to 3-1-1 on the road, had dropped three of their previous four games.
“We showed lots of character,” coach Bob Hartley said. “I told them if we want to build some foundation to be a playoff team, it’s games like this that we need to win.”
Michael Cammalleri scored, giving him four goals and five assists over his last four games after missing three in the midst of that stretch with a lower-body injury.
Steve Begin, Matt Stajan and Roman Horak also netted goals in Dallas.
“It feels good, but the most important thing is we came out with two points,” Begin said. “We’ve got to be proud of ourselves but we’ve got to bring the same intensity for the next few games.”
Cammalleri has five goals and five assists in his last seven games versus the Coyotes, who are 5-2-0 since starting 2-4-2. Phoenix (7-6-2) beat Columbus 5-3 on Saturday, equaling its goal total from its previous three games combined.
“When you don’t score enough, you look at how you can improve your scoring,” coach Dave Tippett said. “Getting people to the net, getting pucks to the net are certainly ways you’re going to create more chances.”
Keith Yandle tied a career high with three assists, adding one on Martin Hazal’s game-winning power-play goal as the Coyotes converted only one of seven chances. They’re 3 for 32 with the man advantage over their last eight games.
“Everybody thinks it’s a power play, you should just automatically go out there and score,” Tippett said. “It’s hard to score. You’ve just got to stay with it.”
Mike Smith made 17 saves Saturday and could be in net again Monday. He’s 3-1-0 with a 1.93 GAA over his last four starts after posting a 3.43 GAA over his first seven.
It’s unclear if Coyotes forward Radim Vrbata, who scored before suffering a lower-body injury in the second period Saturday, will be able to play in this contest. He’s considered day to day.