The Calgary Flames finished a three-gam road trip wth an offensive bang.
Unlike their first two games on the trip, goaltending wasn't the story of the Calgary Flames 7-5 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. The Flames ability to capitalize on numerous Coyotes turnovers created seven goals and Calgary walked out of the Jobing.Com Arena with a big two points.
The Coyotes tried to work their way back into the game in the third period but even with three goals in the final frame, they couldn't dig themselves out of the hole they put themselves in.
"You don't like to finish like that," said Cory Sarich. "We don't like to play that kind of hockey."
Calgary came into the game with a bit more confidence. Miikka Kiprusoff had an excellent game on Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings, blanking them 2-0.The team didn't play that great offensively but were able to kill off seven penalties, showcasing why the Flames are 4th in the league in penalty killing.
"Our penalty kill has been very good," said associate coach Jim Playfair before the game. "We've killed off 5-on-3's in both games on the road trip."
Playfair also commented on the play of Rene Bourque. The Lac La Biche native has four points in his last three games. He has 19 goals on the year, a career high.
"He's a very competitive kid who is a fighter."
Playfair wasn't aware of Bourque's talent when the Flames signed him as a free agent on July 29, 2008.
"I didn't realize what a good, consistent player Rene is. He's got a great shot."
Another big topic before the game was the lack of production by captain Jarome Iginla. He has scored only two goals in his last 19 games.
"I would like to be scoring and I expect myself to contribute goals," said Iginla. "That's a part of my job and a part of my role. Right now, it's unfortunate not to be finding the net as much as I'd like."
Despite the scoring woes, Iginla is looking forward to the last third of the season. He described the first third of the year as being great, the second being dissapointing and is hopeful for the final third.
"There have been a lot of positives this year and the biggest one is the team. We're in the last third of the season starting tonight and I think it's going to be a really good third."
Matthew Lombardi said that while Iginla isn't scoring, he's still a major factor on the team.
"Iggy's working real hard and he does so much for us. He's contributing at both ends of the rink. We've got a team with a lot of depth and we'll support him as much as we can."
The Flames got a quick start the game by getting two shots on net in the first minute. The sense of urgency could be sensed as Calgary wanted to be able to get a jump on the Coyotes early.
Calgary took the first penalty of the game when Todd Bertuzzi was called for holding the stick of Zbynek Michalek. The penalty killers went to work at 3:53.
On the kill, Phaneuf made a great move to poke the puck away from Peter Mueller who was streaking on the power play. The rest of the Flames were trapped at the neutral zone when Mueller broke free and the Flames blueliner was able to skate back and knock the puck away from him before he could get a shot away.
Bertuzzi took another penalty at 6:23 for tripping Ed Jovanovski. This time the Coyotes power play was able to break the Flames when Michalek took a hard shot from the blue line and the puck bounced through a crowd of Coyotes and into the net. Daniel Winnik took credit for the opening goal at 8:23.
Adrian Aucoin got the Flames on the board at 14:21 with a huge slap shot. The defenseman knocked the puck away from Steven Reinprecht desperately trying to get it out of his zone and ripped the shot off. Seconds before the goal, Bertuzzi made a few nice plays to keep the puck in the offensive zone. He and Cammalleri picked up the helpers on Aucoin's 9th of the season.
Winnik looked to give the Coyotes the lead with a point blank blast that was blocked bravely by Mark Giordano. He had lost his stick right before Winnik took shot.
Cammalleri was millimetres close to putting the Flames up by one when we took a quick wrist shot that hit the crossbar. The crafty forward is on pace for 43 goals this season.
During a scan of the crowd, close to half of the jerseys in the audience were Flames fans. The Coyotes are going through financial difficulties due to sagging seat sales and have dropped ticket prices this season. Many Canadian hockey fans have taken advantage of this and more and more opposition fans have been popping up in Phoenix.
At the end of the first frame, the Coyotes had outshoot the Flames 20-15.
The beginning of the second period saw Phoenix hem the Flames in their own zone for the best part of the first four minutes. Sloppy defensive play was the culprit for the chaos in the defensive zone.
Shane Doan took advantage of defensive lapses in the Flames zone with a wrist shot that had Kiprusoff beat but hit the post.
Daymond Langkow gave the Flames their first lead of the game when Keith Yandle wasn't able to clear the puck and the Flames took advantage of the turnover. Langkow's hard shot hit the back of the net at 7:21. David Moss and Giordano assisted on Langkow's 17th.
Sarich made it 3-1 at 9:47 when his seemingly harmless wrist shot tricked Ilya Bryzgalov. The Coyotes netminder misread where the puck was going. Sarich's 2nd of the season was assisted by Bourque and Lombardi.
As soon as the team realized they were scored upon, the Coyotes players on the ice looked absolutely crushed. Bryzgalov looked especially disappointed as he smashed his stick on the net before hanging his head. All of the confidence from their early lead looked as if drained out of the team.
The confidence came back shortly after when Winnik picked up a rebound and slid it into the net. The Coyotes second goal came at 11:58. The goal came when the Flames couldn't clear the puck from behind the net and a scramble in front of Kiprusoff ensued.
Calgary came surging back when Lombardi scored on his own rebound at 12:52. Yandle wasn't able to handle a pass and Lombardi picked the puck up, shot and grabbed the rebound.
The goal came just 54 seconds after Phoenix's tally. Three of Calgary's four goals came because of Phoenix turnovers.
Lombardi said the Flames jumping on turnovers was the result of several first period lapses. They learned from their mistake and didn't look back.
"We were the guys turning the pucks over in first. We said we've got to be smarter and better at the blueline."
Adam Pardy would sit for two minutes at 18:30 for tripping. Eric Nystrom managed to create a great chance on the penalty kill by slipping past the defense and getting shot directly on Bryzgalov. The hometown crowd started to boo their team as Dustin Boyd skated in to pick up the rebound and kill off more time.
The boos got even louder when the Flames scored a shortie with just 15 seconds left on the power play. Olli Jokinen turned the puck over to Sarich and the Phoenix defense got caught in a 2-on-1 with Curtis Glencross and Moss. Glencross's quick shot lead to his 10th goal of the year.
The boos continued in the third period as Bourque held the puck in the offensive zone to kill off the Pardy penalty.
Lombardi scored his second of the night when Bertuzzi drove the center lane, passed off to Cammalleri who passed it right back to the big forward. Bertuzzi saw Lombardi streaking in and made the quick transfer. Lombardi swatted it in at 3:05.
Frustration began to boil over when Winnik started shoving Cammalleri in the Flames zone. Bertuzzi immediately skated in to protect his smaller teammate. Cammalleri and Winnik took conincidental minors for roughing at 4:44.
It was the first time a Coyotes player was sent to the box during the game.
Doan put the Coyotes back into the game when he scored his 22nd goal of the year at 5:17 when he took a nice pass from Jokinen, skated in and backhanded past Kiprusoff. Jovanovski also assisted.
Calgary didn't look rattled after Phoenix's goal as they came back with a great forechecking shift.
Bertuzzi completely attoned for his early two penalties when he took a pass from Boyd, skated into the offensive zone, faked a shot and passed over to a steaming Nystrom. The young forward had his stick on the ice and whacked it past Bryzgalov at 10:41. It's Nystrom's first goal in 10 games.
Lombardi was sent to the box for hooking at 11:53. The Coyotes were able to pick up another power play marker when Yandle took a big shot from the blueline and Viktor Tikhonov tipped in his 4th of the season. The tally came at 13:44.
After the goal, a scrum developed around the Calgary net. It all started with a spat between Phaneuf and Dan Carcillo and when the Coyote knocked Phaneuf to the ground, the rest of the players on the ice jumped in. Carcillo and Phaneuf took roughing calls at 13:44.
Tikhonov put his team within two at the 16:48 when he snuck in a on the left post and was left all alone. It was the Lativan's second of the night.
It was the third goal on eight shots for the Coyotes.
Bryzgalov left the net with just under a minute to go and the pressure was on for the Flames. Phoenix came on strong, blasting everything on net but they couldn't come up with a goal.
There was a definite lack of physicality in the game, something very unusual for the blue collar Flames.
"The first period seemed to have the makings of a real grind of a night," said Sarich. "The second period with four quick goals kind of levelled it off."
The Flames were able to pick up five points of a possible six on their road swing. They head back to C of Red on Tuesday.