Flames burn Coyotes 4-1 for fifth straight win
Thursday, 03.15.2012 / 11:42 PMCALGARY --
It's the kind of déjà vu the Calgary Flames
For the second consecutive game, Sven Baertschi
, Jarome Iginla
and Matt Stajan
scored – in that order – pacing the Flames to a 4-2 win over a foe in the Western Conference playoff race.
After dispatching the San Jose Sharks in overtime 3-2 on Tuesday, the Flames beat the Phoenix Coyotes
in regulation at the Scotiabank Saddledome, extending their winning streak to a season-high five games as they attempt to chase down a playoff position in the West.
"We've been through different stretches this year as a team and we've been able to battle different things," Iginla said. "We've competed hard and different times where we could've had reasons to feel sorry for ourselves or quit we just kept going and now we're going to keep doing that. It's fun to be back in this playoff race. It's going to be interesting with so many teams here."
With 80 points, the Flames are one out of eighth place -- and can move into the top eight with a win at Edmonton on Friday. Phoenix, which won 5-4 at Vancouver on Wednesday, remains seventh with 81 points.
Baertschi, whose stay with the Flames will only last until the next available forward comes off injured reserve, didn't waste any time putting the Flames on the board -- he intercepted a Keith Yandle
pass in front of the net, went to his backhand and lifted the puck under the crossbar just 17 seconds after the opening faceoff to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
"Before the game, they showed us they play a lot of passes in front of the net," Baertschi said. "As soon as he had the puck, I saw him – he was looking at the other d-man. I was just waiting. I picked off the puck and went on my backhand."
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was less than pleased with his team's start.
"It certainly wasn't the way we wanted to start," Tippett said. "You give up a goal 20 seconds in on a bad turnover. You know you're going to have to come in here and play a real determined, real tight game and not give them anything unearned. It took 20 seconds to give them an unearned."
Baertschi, Calgary's top pick in last June's NHL Draft. has goals in three straight games.
Not about to be outdone by the rookie, Iginla gave Calgary a 2-0 edge 5:16 into the second period. After sneaking behind the Coyotes defense and taking a 125-foot stretch pass from the Calgary end from Mark Giordano
, Iginla broke in and let off a wrister that eluded the glove of goaltender Mike Smith
, extending his goal-scoring streak to six games.
"It's something that during the course of a year you go through ups and downs," said Iginla, who has eight goals in his last eight games. "You try to make the tough stretches as short as possible and the ones you're feeling better and feeling good as long as possible."
Baertschi isn't sure he can keep up with the pace set by his captain.
"I don't know if I'm going to be able to keep up with (Iginla)," Baertschi said. "I'm happy with the way it is right now. He's just on a different level. I'm down here, he's up there. I don't know if I could keep up with that."
Phoenix got on the board with 2:23 left in the second period. After gaining the blue line, Ray Whitney
cut towards the net before dishing a pass to Oliver Ekman-Larsson
, who was able to beat Miikka Kiprusoff
before the goaltender had a chance to reposition himself and cut the Coyotes' deficit to 2-1.
"I feel good out there," Ekman-Larsson said after scoring his 11th goal of the season, a career best. "I play with some good players and I play more this year than what I did last year. I feel comfortable out there. I just try to play my game."
But Calgary answered back just 33 seconds later. Cory Sarich
's centering pass went off the skate of Smith before ricocheting off Stajan's shin pad and into the back of the net, giving the Flames a 3-1 lead heading into the third period.
Stajan's goal had Tippett upset as well.
"The shift right after we turn over another one and it's in the back of our net," Tippett said. "We have to find a way to make these plays that are critical to the outcomes of games. You can't give opportunities away and that's what we're doing."
Whitney tried to cut the margin to one again just over a minute into the third, but couldn't beat Kiprusoff after sneaking in all alone on the Flames goaltender. It was one of 13 consecutive shots launched at Kiprusoff, who stopped 27 on the night.
The Flames put the game away with 5:04 remaining and Baertschi in the penalty box to serve a too-many-men bench minor when Alex Tanguay
and Curtis Glencross
combined for just their third shorthanded goal of the season. Glencross took a drop pass from Tanguay at the blue line, drew the defense and passed the puck back to Tanguay in front of the net. Tanguay faked Smith before jamming the puck home to ice the game for the Flames.