Flames-Coyotes Preview

The Calgary Flames took advantage of an extended break to work on their scuffling power play.

They'll see if the extra practice pays off Thursday night in a matchup with the Arizona Coyotes, one of the league's worst teams at killing penalties.

The Flames (22-18-3) have been off since opening a five-game road swing leading into the All-Star break with Saturday's 1-0 win over Vancouver that snapped a three-game skid. Mikael Backlund scored and Joni Ortio made 36 saves in his first start of the season after being recalled by Calgary two days earlier.

With four days off, the Flames got a chance to return home and take a break from the grind of the schedule.

"It's a time to get some mental and physical rest, but at the same time, we can't be complacent," coach Bob Hartley told the team's official website.

Hartley and his coaching staff spent extra time examining their brutal play with the extra skater. The Flames are 1 for 14 with the man advantage in 2015 and have converted a league-worst 8.9 percent of power plays (4 for 45) since Dec. 12.

"Over the past two or three weeks, we've hit a speed bump," Hartley said. "It comes in waves and that's what we're facing. I've talked to many coaches over the past weeks like I always do, about my power play, that's where we're searching for solutions."

A simple solution may be facing the Coyotes (16-22-4).

Arizona has killed a Western Conference-worst 74.5 percent of its penalties and has allowed eight power-play goals in 25 chances during a 2-4-0 stretch.

The Flames have won all three matchups with the Coyotes this season, scoring twice with the extra skater.

Rookie center Josh Jooris notched his first career hat trick in the last matchup with Arizona, a 5-2 win Dec. 2. Jiri Hudler assisted on two of those goals and has one goal and five assists in the season series.

The Coyotes, whose 3.26 goals-against average is among the worst in the NHL, head into the finale of a six-game homestand after Tuesday's 3-2 loss to San Jose. The Sharks broke a 2-all tie in the third period on a shot that bounced off Arizona defenseman Zbynek Michalek's skate and squeezed through Devan Dubnyk's pads.

"You hate to lose on a goal like that, especially because I thought we battled hard," Michalek told the Coyotes' official website. "You feel like whatever you do, nothing goes your way. We just have to fight through it. We've said it many times. Nobody is going to give us anything for free."

The Coyotes traded Dubnyk, who had been their most consistent goalie with a 9-5-2 record, 2.72 goals-against average and .916 save percentage, to Minnesota for a third-round draft pick in 2015 on Wednesday. That leaves Mike Smith, who has struggled with a 7-17-2 mark, 3.52 GAA and .885 save percentage, to carry the load.

One positive for Arizona is Mikkel Boedker breaking out of his scoring slump.

Boedker has four goals in the last three games after going without one in the previous 11 contests. The Coyotes' leader with 13 goals, Boedker has one assist against Calgary this season.

Calgary will start Ortio again after his stellar debut and Karri Ramo, working his way back from injury, will travel with the team.

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