GAME AT A GLANCE: The Calgary Flames were calling Tuesday's game against Phoenix the proverbial 'most important of the season.' A loss, of course, would knock them out of playoff contention. A win would boost some sagging confidence and give them two much-needed points in a playoff race that appears headed for a photo finish.
For the second game in a row on the road, the Flames were the better team in the first period, outshooting the host Coyotes 12-6 in the opening frame. On the scoreboard, they had nothing to show, although a Jarome Iginla shot rang off the cross-bar near the midway point. A second period sag two nights earlier in Anaheim had cost the Flames the game.
That wouldn't happen this time.
Some strong play from a motivated Iginla and some big saves from goalie Miikka Kiprusoff got the Flames through the period with a 2-1 lead and, despite the Coyotes coming hard, the Flames came away with the two points they needed with a 4-1 win.
Iginla broke the scoring ice with a lovely, waist-high tip of an Adrian Aucoin point shot to put the Flames up 1-0 at 3:52 of the second. Iginla had been belted behind the net before scoring.
"I just happened to be in front and got a stick on it. It felt good after getting hit pretty hard behind the net," said Iginla.
The Coyotes responded when former Flames Derek Morris blasted a shot past Kiprusoff on the power play. The Flames answered when Dion Phaneuf, pinching in on the power play, picked up a bad Coyote clearing attempt and beat Ilya Bryzgalov to stake the Flames to another one goal lead. Iginla, again, did some nice work to make the goal happen and just missed on a cross-ice feed from Daymond Langkow before Phaneuf went top shelf.
Phaneuf scored on a point blast early in the third for his second of the game to make it 3-1 and then Iginla, with an empty net tally, iced the deal.
The win keeps the Flames in the playoff picture in the Western Conference and keeps the Coyotes on the outside looking in. The two teams were tied with 66 points as the game began but the Flames, now have a game in hand and are two points up on the Coyotes. The Flames are deadlocked with the Vancouver Canucks for the eighth and final spot in the conference.