|Flames aim for quick recovery against Coyotes|
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Calgary Flames are too many points behind the primary Western Conference playoff contenders and have too few games remaining to get almost nothing out of a game.
No goals. No points. No ground gained in the standings, and no confidence built, either.
That's why the Flames probably are glad they're coming right back to play the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night after a 4-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday -- or exactly the kind of game they knew they couldn't play as the NHL season winds down.
The Flames (35-28-10) trail the Dallas Stars by four points for the second Western Conference wild-card playoff berth and the Los Angeles Kings by four points for third place in the Pacific Division. That might not sound like much, but the time to make up ground is dwindling for a team that has lost three of four and is 3-6-1 in its last 10 games.
"We've got a game (Monday) and that's two points on the table," right winger Garnet Hathaway said after the Flames took 42 shots but could not get one past Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. "We've to focus up now and learn it from what happened (Sunday), and we've got to get to work."
The Flames, who have only nine games left, already know they won't be as successful on their two-games-in-two-days swing through the desert as fellow playoff contender Minnesota. The Wild firmed up their hold on third place in the Central Division by winning 4-2 on Friday night in Vegas and 3-1 on Saturday night at Arizona.
"(But) we're not down and, until we're officially eliminated, we're going to keep our heads up here," Flames goalie Mike Smith said.
The Coyotes (23-37-11), long since gone from playoff contention, will be without coach Rick Tocchet while he attends his mother's funeral in Toronto. He is expected to rejoin the team for its game Wednesday at Buffalo. Tocchet missed one game last week to visit with his mother before she passed away.
Arizona was showing signs of improvement, going 11-3-2 during a 16-game stretch, before losing its last two games, 3-2 to the Nashville Predators on Thursday and to the Wild on Saturday.
Goaltender Antti Raanta (15-16-6) returned from a six-game layoff with a lower-body injury to stop 30 of 32 shots against Minnesota.
Raanta has played well for extended stretches this season, but injuries have limited him to 40 of the Coyotes' 71 games. His absence was especially significant at the start of the season, when Arizona was 0-10-1 in its first 11 games. Arizona, 2-2 on a five-game homestand that ends Monday, now has 11 games remaining.
"There's still lots of games left so, hopefully, we can get a few wins and end on a high note," said Raanta, who is two victories from setting a career high.
Coyotes rookie center Clayton Keller also hopes to end the season with a rush. He scored his 20th goal of the season Saturday, leaving him two behind Peter Mueller for the team rookie record. Keller has 52 points, two short of tying Mueller's team rookie record of 54 points in 2007-08.
"He's a 19-year-old and we've put a lot of responsibility on him," Tocchet said. "That (scoring 20 goals) is a great accomplishment for a young kid like that. ... He wants the puck. He wants to be on the ice. I'm not surprised he's scored 20."
Calgary won the first two of the four meetings between the Pacific Division teams this season -- 3-0 behind Smith on Nov. 30 in Calgary and 5-2 on Feb. 22 at Arizona. The teams play again April 3 in Calgary.