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Flames 4 Coyotes 3: Inside the Game

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames
For the Calgary Flames, Tuesday's game against the Phoenix Coyotes was about redemption.

Just 24 hours after being spanked 5-0 by the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place, the Flames were happy for the quick turnaround. Kinda like throwing out the bath water and starting all over again.

"You throw it out. We have a chance to redeem ourselves," said captain Jarome Iginla prior to the game. "A lot of teams have had bad games. Every team has a really off night. That was ours. We all take responsibility and have to get this back on track right away."

Calgary Flames' Jarome Iginla, left, gets rough with Phoenix Coyotes' Ed Jovanovski during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Alberta, on Tuesday Feb. 5, 2008. The two would engage in a fight shortly after. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Larry MacDougal)

Redemption, however, doesn't come easy as Calgary had to overcome some serious defensive gaffes and a 3-0 deficit to stage a 4-3 shootout win over the Coyotes.

Peter Mueller, the Coyotes rookie, found the holes and the gaps and scored a natural hat trick as the Coyotes streaked to a 3-0 lead by the end of the second period.

Just 23 seconds into the game, Mueller took a cross-ice pass and buried a shot behind Flames starter Miikka Kiprusoff. Mueller added his second of the game at 10:51 of the second to give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead when he whacked home his own rebound after sneaking into the slot and taking a pass from behind the net. He completed the trio of goals late in the third period, taking a tight pass in the slot and firing it home to put the Coyotes up 3-0.

The Flames, meanwhile, couldn't buy a goal and, at that point, had given up eight straight goals over two games without a response. 

Defenceman Dion Phaneuf broke the string at 7:01 of the third when he scored with a wrist shot on the power play. Phaneuf scored his second of the game at 13:59 to truly make a game of this one. On the play he broke his stick as he shot, throwing a curve-ball like shot at Ilya Brygalov. 

Then came redemption and the end of a slump for Iginla, who tied the game with eight seconds on the clock, a wrister, short-side over Bryzgalov, to force overtime.

Iginla entered the game on a 10-game scoreless drought, something that hadn't happened to the sniper since December, 1999, when he was 22 years old. He was also benched for long stretches in the third period of the Edmonton game, although head coach Mike Keenan said that was more to save legs for the battle against Phoenix than anything else.

With his team trailing in the first period, Iginla picked a fight with Coyote defenceman Ed Jovanovski. The pair exchanged some serious blows and in the end, probably fought to a draw. "You are always blowing off steam in a fight," smiled Iginla.


"You have to work your way out of it," he said of his slump.  "I have to make sure my feet are moving and I am skating. If it is not going in, I have to be positive in other areas of the game and make sure I am contributing."

A fight, an assist, a goal and a hootout goal. That would be consdiered contributing as Iginla registered an assist on Phaneuf's second goal of the game and then put the cherry on top by being the only one of six shooters to score in the shootout portion.

"I was very happy to see that goal go in for a number of reasons. I was just trying to turn and shoot it. Sometimes when you are not expecting something to happen, it does," said Iginla of his buzzer-beating goal. "We kept pushing. I thought we had good pressure. We were skating. Some shots were just rattling off Bryzgalov's handle."

Added Phaneuf: "It was a huge win for us. It was a huge effort by our whole hockey team against a very good team."

And the three-goal comeback? Where did that come from?

"We play to win," said Phaneuf.

THE TURNING POINT: The Flames gained momentum on Dion Phaneuf's second of the game but Jarome Iginla, taking a neat pass from robyn Regehr and firing the tying goal in with eight seconds remaining sparked the Flames win. To top it off, Iginla scored the winner on a deke in the shootout.

THE ROSTER: The Flames made some significant changes to the roster for their game against Phoenix, inserting D Anders Eriksson, F Marcus Nilson and F Mark Smith.

Nilson played in NHL career game 500 but it was just his second game in 17 contests and first in eight games. The healthy scratches were F Wayne Primeau and D Rhett Warrener. F Eric Godard served a one-game suspension for receiving his third game misconduct of the season. After resting for one game, Miikka Kiprusoff was back in the Flames net.

The Coyotes were without leading goal-getter Radim Vrbata, who hurt his ankle in Colorado on Monday and promising rookie Martin Hanzal, who injured his shoulder in the same game.

GODARD SUSPENDED: Flames forward Eric Godard, who went a little too far in the third period Monday when he ran into Oilers goalie Mathieu Garon and then began throwing punches at anyone with in reach wearing an Oilers logo, was suspended for one game because he received his third game misconduct of the season.

In one sense you could understand Godard's actions -- he was trying to send a message to the Oilers, who hook up with the Flames again on Saturday at the Pengrowth Saddledome. On the other hand, he ended up costing his team plenty of penalty minutes and the Oilers scored twice with the man advantage during that time.

Head coach Mike Keenan called Godard's actions very undisciplined and not something that is promoted by the Flames coaching staff.

While Godard was mixing it up in the Oilers end, Garon threw a couple of punches of his own. That drew Flames goalie Curtis Joseph out of his crease and he too, was penalized.

CUJO UPDATE: Curtis Joseph wanted a win in his debut as a Flame. Instead, he was on the losing end of the 5-0 shutout to the Oilers. But his teammates and coaches certainly weren't pinning the goat horns on Cujo. "We didn't give him any support so he had too many difficult saves to make. We put him in a really bad position."

Players agreed. "We wanted to play better in front of him," said Iginla. "We left him so many point blank shots to deal with."

GAME BY THE NUMBERS: Coyote Peter Mueller recorded his second career hat trick showing why he was named NHL Rookie of the Month for January...Calgary had eight shots on net in the first period and another 10 attempts that missed the mark. Another eight shots were blocked by the Coyotes...Mueller had a game-high eight shots...Iginla had four shots for the Flames while Owen Nolan led the way with five...The Flames outhit the Coyotes 33-18...The Coyotes blocked a total of 22 shots...Dion Phaneuf led al skaters with 29:42 of ice time.
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