Photo Credit: Norm Hall
COYOTES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Mathias Tjarnqvist - (C) Steven Reinprecht - (RW) Shane Doan
(D) Zbynek Michalek - (D) Nick Boynton
FLAMES STARTING LINE-UP
(LW) Alex Tanguay - (C) Matthew Lombardi - (RW) Tony Amonte
(D) Dion Phaneuf - (D) Roman Hamrlik
Phoenix - Mikael Tellqvist
Calgary - Miikka Kiprusoff
On Thursday night, the Phoenix Coyotes got back on the winning track in dramatic fashion with a 3-2 overtime win against the visiting Calgary Flames.
Less than a minute into the action, the Coyotes generated their first scoring chance when center Steven Reinprecht rushed in from the left side and released a backhand shot that beat Calgary netminder Miikka Kiprusoff and ricocheted off the left goal post. The puck then fell in the crease where a Flames defenseman was able to clear the puck out the zone.
At 1:43 of the opening frame, Phoenix received their first power play of the night when Calgary's Marcus Nilsson was sent to the penalty box to serve a hooking penalty. The Coyotes would be able to record a pair of shots on Kiprusoff during the man-advantage, but were unable to take the early lead as the Flames returned to full strength with the game still scoreless.
Near the eight-minute mark of the first, the Flames once again returned to the penalty box, this time it was forward Alex Tanguay, who was forced to serve a tripping penalty. In almost a mirror of the Coyotes first power play, the club again registered a pair of shots, but was unable to develop enough of an attack to take the first lead of the game.
Phoenix made their first trip to the box at 13:29 of the period when left wing Josh Gratton was called for high-sticking. The penalty would prove costly for the Coyotes, as Calgary's Tanguay was able to find an open area near the right side of the Phoenix net and eventually fire a cross-ice pass into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
The Flames nearly made it a two-goal lead at the four-minute mark when forward Kristian Huselius was sent on a breakaway at the Phoenix blue line. After making a move on Tellqvist, Huselius tried to lift a backhand into the net, but his shot sailed high over the goal, keeping the Calgary lead at one.
The final minutes of the first would trickle off the clock without incident as the Coyotes skated off the ice after 20-minutes of play, trailing the Flames by one.
The Coyotes and Flames traded minor penalties early in the period, but the crowd rose to their feet at 2:13 of the second when Phoenix defenseman Matt Jones began exchanging shots with Calgary captain Jarome Iginla. The two never fully engaged in a "fight" and as a result were only given matching minors for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Coyotes nearly tied the game at the four-minute mark of the second when Owen Nolan's shot form the right side of the net seemed destined for the back of the goal, but at the last second, Kiprusoff made a highlight glove save on Nolan's shot, keeping the Flames ahead by a goal.
With 5:28 to play in the second, the Coyotes penalty-killing unit returned to the ice when Mike Zigomanis was called for tripping inside his own zone. However the Flames power play would last only 12-seconds as Calgary blueliner Roman Hamrlik tripped Phoenix forward Fredrik Sjostrom as he entered the offensive zone. Sjostrom wound up catching his left skate in the ice and injuring his left leg. Sjostrom was helped off the ice and into the locker room by the Coyotes medical staff for further eval uation. It was later determined that Sjostrom suffered a knee sprain on the play and would not return to the contest.
At 17:47, Phoenix forward Oleg Saprykin tied the game when his shot form the right corner found an opening, deflected off the back of Kiprusoff and into the Flames goal. However, the on-ice officials initially thought that the puck hadn't entered the net and was instead caught in the pads of Calgary's netminder. However, the officials quickly spotted the puck caught in the netting of the goal and after a brief review, awarded the point to Phoenix. Jeremy Roenick and Travis Roche recorded assists on Oleg Saprykin's 14th goal of the season.
The Coyotes would take a late penalty as Kevyn Adams was sent to the box for hooking, but the period would expire without a go-ahead goal and the Coyotes and Flames tied at 1-1.
Just over three minutes into the final period, Tanguay had another scoring opportunity, this time when he jumped on a loose puck inside the Coyotes zone, raced in and snapped a shot that just caught a piece of Tellqvist's blocker before deflecting into the corner.
Calgary re-took the lead at 8:14 of the third when Iginla's slap shot from the blue line was tipped en-route to the net by forward Stephane Yelle and deflected past Tellqvist for his sixth goal of the season and a 2-1 Flames lead.
The Coyotes fought back and evened the score at 2-2 at 15:10 of the third when defenseman Nick Boynton's shot form the blue line was tipped at the top of the crease by Steven Reinprecht and deflected past Kiprusoff for his fifth goal of the season. Bill Thomas also recorded his first assist of the season on the goal by Reinprecht.
Over the final minutes of regulation, the Coyotes held off a vicious offensive attack by the Flames, highlighted by a series of key saves by Tellqvist, whose efforts in goal helped propel Phoenix into overtime.
The Coyotes wasted no time in the extra session as their aggressive offense challenged the Flames, backing them into their own zone. Then at the 54-second mark, Coyotes captain Shane Doan snapped a shot from the right face-off circle the beat Kiprusoff to give Phoenix a 3-2 win.