The hottest team in the NHL will try to carry over their February success into a new month, as the Phoenix Coyotes shoot for a seventh straight victory in tonight's home test against the struggling Calgary Flames.
In addition to winning their final six games in February, the Coyotes went 11-0-1 in 12 trips to the ice last month. The surge has helped put Phoenix two points ahead of San Jose for first place in the Pacific Division.
Phoenix figures to have a strong chance of extending its hot streak tonight, as the Coyotes have won the last six encounters with the Flames. However, both of Phoenix's wins against Calgary this season came after regulation.
The Coyotes opened a three-game homestand on Tuesday with a win over the Vancouver Canucks, who are currently leading the Western Conference. Ray Whitney scored the game-tying goal in the third period and netted the deciding goal in the shootout to lift Phoenix to the 2-1 decision.
Whitney opened the shootout with a wrister over the left shoulder of Cory Schneider, and after Alexander Edler, Radim Vrbata and Mason Raymond were each denied, Mikkel Boedker sealed the win for the Coyotes by faking right before deking left and beating Schneider to the stick side.
"Their skill level and the pace that they play at is very high," Whitney said about Vancouver. "We can't emphasize enough that the guy in net was the key again for us today."
Mike Smith stood tall for the Coyotes, stopping 39-of-40 shots to extend his personal win streak to a career-high 11 games, which is also a franchise record.
The Coyotes have won seven straight on home ice and are 17-10-4 as the host this season.
Calgary, meanwhile, recently posted an 0-2-2 mark on a winless four-game homestand. The Flames, who are just 12-14-7 as the guest this year, will visit Anaheim tomorrow to complete a brief two-game road trip.
The Flames ended the residency on Monday with a 3-1 setback against the St. Louis Blues. Curtis Glencross scored the lone goal for the Flames, who got 21 saves from Miikka Kiprusoff as they lost for the fifth time in six outings.
"We're not happy with the homestand we just had, obviously, but we need to get back on the road again and get this thing straightened out and going in the right direction," Flames head coach Brent Sutter said.
With 67 points, Calgary is currently outside of the Western Conference playoff picture. The Flames are four points behind Dallas for the eighth seed.
The Flames have lost five straight in Phoenix since posting their last win in the desert on Feb. 14, 2009.