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Flames 4 Coyotes 1: Inside the Game

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

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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.

THE BIG SAVE: With the Flames leading 2-1 and the Coyotes battling hard to get back into the game, Miikka Kiprusoff makes a big-time toe save on Joel Perreault who fired a quick shot off the rush as he cruised into the Flames zone.
THE BIG HITS: Not known as a big bruiser, Coyotes rookie Peter Mueller levels Matthew Lombardi at the Coyotes blueline as an unsuspecting Lombardi waits, feet still, for his teammates to get onside.
THE TURNING POINT: Dion Phaneuf blasts a point shot through traffic, off the short-side post and in to give the Flames a 3-1 lead early in the third period.
QUOTABLE: "We've got to get going again. Since the All-Star break our game has slipped. It's no secret. Our consistency, our work ethic has to be better." -- Flames captain Jarome Iginla prior to the game.

THE ROSTER: Flames forward David Moss missed his second game in a row with an ankle injury. The Flames healthy scratches were D Anders Eriksson and F Dustin Boyd.

WORTH NOTING: There were two first period fights. IN the first Dion Phaneuf and Shane Doan removed the visors and had a spirited affair that we'd call a draw. Later in the period Daniel Carcillo, the pently-minute leader in the NHL with 225 heading into the game, and Mark Smith went toe-to-toe. While Carcillo got the first shot in, Smith battled back and landed a series of punches to end the fight...

BY THE NUMBERS: Dion Phaneuf has nine points, including four goals, in his last five games...Jarome Iginla notched his 36th and 37th goal of the season and now is just four shy of passing Theo Fleury for the all-time Flames franchise goals lead...Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky collected his 100th win as a coach Monday when Phoenix beat up on Los Angeles 4-0...
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