Flames try to end home slide in battle with Coyotes

( - The Calgary Flames will try to bring their longest home losing streak in franchise history to a close on Wednesday night as they take on the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Flames have not won a game at Scotiabank Saddledome since Dec. 23, getting outscored 22-4 and shut out four times in seven straight defeats as the hosting club.

Calgary has lost four in a row overall, following up a home setback to Winnipeg on Jan. 16 with back-to-back road defeats in Vancouver and San Jose. The Flames were undone on Monday by Joe Pavelski's two goals in a 3-2 loss to the Sharks.

Karri Ramo allowed three goals on 27 shots, while Kevin Westgarth and Jiri Hudler scored goals as the Flames fell to 3-12-3 in their last 18 games.

"We ended up getting down with a couple of weird bounces. That's one of the best teams in the NHL and we stuck with them the whole game, and I think outplayed them over the final 20 minutes. It's tough when we're not putting pucks in the net, so I'm happy to pitch in," Westgarth said.

Westgarth scored in his first game since being involved in the game-opening line brawl with Vancouver on Saturday. The forward touched off the melee by engaging with unwillingly Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa at center ice and then found a different partner as five fights eventually broke out.

Westgarth was part of Calgary's fourth line that started the game and the NHL fined Flames coach Bob Hartley $25,000 for the actions.

"All incidents that happen, the league will look into it. They are in a tough spot and make a decision that is best for the league. I will respect their decision," Hartley said.

Tonight's contest kicks off a five-game homestand for the Flames, who were shut out 6-0 the last time they faced the Coyotes on Jan. 7 in Phoenix. Coyotes backup netminder Thomas Greiss notched 27 saves in the whitewash.

The Flames have lost two of three to the Coyotes this season, but both defeats came in the desert and Calgary notched a 4-1 decision in the lone home meeting on Dec. 4. That pushed the Flames' series home winning streak over the Coyotes to four straight.

Phoenix was aiming for a perfect three-game homestand on Monday after defeating Vancouver and New Jersey, but dropped a 4-2 decision to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Mike Smith yielded all four goals on 29 shots, while Mike Ribeiro scored on the power play and Antoine Vermette netted a goal shorthanded.

"When you give the opposition those opportunities on turnovers and they capitalize, you're going to be chasing the game, and that's exactly what happened," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "There are little things that come back to haunt us off and on all year, and those continue to be areas of concern and areas we have to improve in."

Though the Coyotes have lost five of their last seven games, they have a power-play goal in eight straight to match the longest such streak since moving to Phoenix that was set from Feb. 7-22.

The longest streak of consecutive games with a power-play goal in franchise history is 14, done by the Winnipeg Jets from Nov. 6-Dec. 3, 1987.

The Coyotes are set to play their next three on the road, where they are 9-9-6 this season. They are just 3-7-0 in January despite having played eight of those 10 games at home.