(Photos courtesy of Norm Hall)
Curtis Joseph did his best in keeping the Phoenix Coyotes within striking distance. But then Jarome Iginla took over.
Iginla scored the game-winning goal on a penalty shot in the third period and recorded two assists, as the Calgary Flames defeated the Coyotes 4-3 at Glendale Arena on Thursday night.
It could have been much worse for Phoenix had it not been for an outstanding performance by "Cujo," who kept his team in the game and made 39 saves, including numerous stops from point blank range.
"(Joseph) was incredible for us," said Shane Doan. "He gave us a chance in the third period to win that game and we didn't even deserve the opportunity."
With Calgary up 3-2 early in the third period and after numerous rebound saves by Joseph, the Flames were awarded a penalty shot after Paul Mara, while in the crease, covered the puck with his hand.
Calgary head coach Daryl Sutter had to select one of five players that were on the ice when the infraction occurred to take the shot, and he went with the safest choice of them all, selecting Iginla.
The selection paid off as Iginla beat Joseph with a quick wrist shot to notch his ninth goal of the season and give the Flames the proverbial two-goal lead.
"(Iginla) is probably the best player in the world and he was on tonight and we weren't," said Doan
Phoenix made it 4-3 on Ladislav Nagy's goal with 34 seconds left, but failed to register another quality scoring chance as the Flames recorded their fifth straight win.
"We were continuously in the penalty box," said Phoenix Head Coach Wayne Gretzky. "Part of the reason you are in the box is because you are standing around, hooking and holding. You're just not going to beat that team if you're standing around and taking penalties. And that's what we did tonight."
Calgary led 2-1 after the first period and 3-2 at the second intermission.
Just 1:52 into the game, Robyn Regehr opened the scoring after Phoenix was called for a bench minor. On the ensuring power play, Regeher fired a hard slap through traffic that found its way into the Coyotes net.
Oleg Saprykin responded for Phoenix and tied the game at the 9:48 mark of the first period when his tight angle shot deflected off a Calgary defenseman and trickled in past Philipe Sauve.
The Flames made it 2-1 with 2:14 left in the first period and extended their lead to 3-1 on Steven Reinprecht's power play goal at 8:08 of the second period.
Mike Johnson's power play tally brought Phoenix within a goal at 7:56 of the second period.
"We were flat tonight and they capitalized, that was it," said David Tanabe.
Forward Tyson Nash was scratched for the Coyotes. Defensemen Steve Montador and Bryan Marchment and forward Chris Simon did not play for the Flames.
Coming into tonight's contest, Phoenix goaltender Curtis Joseph was ranked sixth in the NHL in goals against average (2.12) and tied fifth in save percentage (.925). He also stopped 83 of 86 shots and was 3-0-0 in his last three games vs. the Kings, Red Wings and Wild.
On Thursday, the Phoenix Coyotes assigned Krystofer Kolanos to their AHL affiliate in San Antonio. Before he can be assigned, Kolanos must clear waivers. NHL teams now have 24 hours to put in a claim for the center.
The Coyotes return to Glendale Arena on Saturday night as they face-off against the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. The game time is set for 7:00 p.m.
Saturday night's game will also be a "Coyotes Family Pack Night" game. Purchase 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 small sodas for only $68.00, or upgrade to $50.00 tickets for only $136.00.