Photo Credit: Norm Hall
COYOTES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Ladislav Nagy - (C) Mike Comrie - (RW) Owen Nolan
(D) Ed Jovanovski - (D) Travis Roche
FLAMES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Kristian Huselius - (C) Matthew Lombardi - (RW) Chuck Kobasew
(D) Andrew Ference - (D) Robyn Regehr
Phoenix - Mikael Tellqvist
Calgary - Miikka Kiprusoff
On Saturday night, the Phoenix Coyotes fell to the visiting Calgary Flames by the score of 6-3. Phoenix would find themselves taking nine penalties, including five in the final period of play as they dropped their first contest at home in regulation, in the last eight games.
As soon as the puck hit the ice, Coyotes and Flames exhibited an aggressive, offensive minded style of play with the clubs trading rushes into the offensive zone.
Calgary nearly created a point-blank scoring opportunity in the first minute of play when Phoenix couldn't keep the puck inside the offensive zone; allowing Flames forward Chuck Kobasew to race past Ed Jovanovski, grab the puck. Kobasew tried to center a pass to the top of the Coyotes crease, but goaltender Mikael Tellqvist was able to break up the play before Calgary could get a shot on net.
Calgary would be awarded the first power play of the game at 1:35 of the first when Coyotes captain Shane Doan was called for tripping. The Flames thoughts of offensive pressure were quickly dashed as the Phoenix penalty-killing unit did an outstanding job keeping the puck out of their own zone. When Calgary was able to dump the puck into the Coyotes zone, it was quickly cleared the length of the ice. As a result, the Flames would fail to register a single shot on goal during the penalty to Doan.
Phoenix went back on the attack at 4:02 of the period when Calgary forward Stephane Yelle was sent to the penalty box for hooking. The Coyotes would register a series of good shots on goal including a great slap shot by Jovanovski from the point, but a glove save by Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff kept the game scoreless.
The Flames would regain the man-advantage at 14:24 of the first as Mike Zigomanis was called for tripping inside the Calgary zone. With 19-seconds left in the penalty to Zigomanis, Calgary created their best scoring chance of the power play when Jarome Iginla made a difficult backhand pass to Matthew Lombardi in the slot. Lombardi tried to stuff the puck through the legs of Tellqvist, but the Coyotes goalie was able to trap the puck under his pads and keep the Flames from grabbing the first lead of the game.
Seconds later, Kobasew has two chances from the right side of the net, with Tellqvist stopping the first and the second deflecting off the right goal post and into the corner.
At 18:31 of the period, Calgary would capture the first goal when Tellqvist knocked down a shot from defenseman Dion Phaneuf, but Iginla, who was positioned at the top of the crease, grabbed the rebound, spun around and stuffed the puck into the net for the 1-0 lead.
The final seconds of the first period would tick off the clock without incident as the Coyotes headed to the locker room after 20-minutes of play, trailing the Flames by one.
At 1:42 of the second period, the Flames extended their lead to 2-0 when Iginla made a pass from the corner left of the Coyotes net to Flames forward Alex Tanguay in the slot. Tanguay then cut across the crease forcing Tellqvist to take away the bottom of the net by diving across the crease, allowing Tanguay to flip the puck into the top of the net for his eighth goal of the season.
Just over a minute later, at 2:54 of the second, Phoenix's Josh Gratton dropped the gloves with Calgary's Darren McCarty. The two engaged in a classic battle that saw both land a series of punches before the became pinned on the boards, congratulated each other and headed to the box to serve their penalties.
Gratton's bout energized the Coyotes as they went back on the offensive attack and at 4:28 of the period cut the deficit in half as defenseman Keith Ballard carried the puck behind the Flames net before sending a centering pass to the front of the goal. Waiting there for the feed was Ladislav Nagy, who backhanded the puck past Kiprusoff to make it a 2-1 game.
Phoenix continued to develop their offensive attack, getting more shots to the net and pressure on the Calgary goal. Then at 8:01 of the second, Mike Comrie evened the score at 2-2 when he grabbed the rebound from Derek Morris' shot from the point and slid it past Kiprusoff for his sixth goal of the season.
The Coyotes would find themselves in trouble midway through the period. With defenseman Matt Jones serving a two-minute minor for a delay-of-game, Coyotes goaltender Mikael Tellqvist tried to play the puck behind his own net and wound up losing his stick. The Flames power play quickly moved the puck around and sent the puck to the front of the net where former Coyote Daymond Langkow was able to tuck it into the net for a 3-2 Calgary lead.
Former Coyote Jamie Lundmark made his first trip to the box of the game at 15:25 of the second when he was called for interference. Phoenix tried to develop a sustained attack in search of their third goal of the period, but Calgary was able to fend off the Phoenix offense for the remainder of the period.
For minutes into the third, the Coyotes had a trio of scoring chances, including a unobstructed shot by Doan from the right side; but while Kiprusoff was unable to cover the puck, he did make the saves, keeping Calgary up by one.
Phoenix would find themselves in penalty trouble at 6:52 of the third period. With Owen Nolan already serving a questionable tripping call, defenseman Derek Morris received a delay-of-game penalty when his clearing attempt sailed the length of the ice and over the glass.
The Flames power play went to work on the two-man advantage and at 7:12 of the third, increased Calgary's lead to 4-2 when Jarome Iginla recorded his fourth point of the evening when he flipped a wrist shot over the shoulder of Tellqvist. Langkow and Kristian Huselius assisted on Iginla's second goal of the game.
The Coyotes would call upon their penalty-killing unit for the third time for the sixth time at 10:24 of the third when Fredrik Sjostrom was whistled for tripping. Phoenix's defensive unit did their job as they kept the pressure off Tellqvist and prevented the Flames from getting multiple shots on net, thereby allowing Sjostrom to return to the ice with no change in the score.
With 5:05 left in the third, the Coyotes pulled to within one when defenseman Travis Roche pounced on a rebound from a shot by Oleg Saprykin, and tipped the puck up and over Kiprusoff and into the net. Roche's goal was his first career NHL goal.
However, the Flames would regain the two-goal lead 55-seconds later when Byron Ritchie took advantage of a rebound by Tellqvist and shot the puck into the net from the side of the crease for a 5-3 lead.
Phoenix would pull Tellqvist from the net in an attempt to generate some late offense, but a turnover in the Flames zone led to Calgary forward Tony Amonte carrying the puck into the neutral zone where he was able to send the puck into the open net to complete the scoring by putting the Flame up by three.
The final seconds of the contest would expire quickly as the Phoenix Coyotes fell to the Calgary Flames by the score of 6-3.