Phoenix down Flames 4-2 in desert duel
CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames battled back, but couldn’t dig themselves out twice in the desert.
Mike Ribeiro had two goals while Mike Smith made 22 stops as the Phoenix Coyotes dropped the Flames 4-2 at Jobing.com Arena on Tuesday night.
Radim Vrbata and Rob Klinkhammer also scored for the Coyotes, who have earned points in seven straight games.
Lee Stempniak and Joe Colborne, with his first as a member of the Flames, replied for Calgary.
Trailing 2-0 late in the second period, Stempniak helped cut the Coyotes lead in half.
Breaking up ice, TJ Galiardi sauced a pass over two Coyotes sticks onto the tape of Kris Russell. The Flames defenceman fired off a shot that was kicked out by Smith directly onto the stick of Stempniak, who made no mistake in burying his third of the season with 1:34 remaining in the middle frame.
The goal gives Stempniak points in four straight contests and in eight of nine Flames games this season.
Colborne brought the game even just three minutes into the third.
Sprung by Jiri Hudler, Colborne broke in alone on the Coyotes goaltender, dekeing Smith and tucking the puck around his pad at the 3-minute mark to tie the game 2-2.
The lead was short-lived after Ribeiro recorded his second of the night just 2:47 after Colborne’s tally. Parked to Joey MacDonald’s right, Ribeiro took a feed from Keith Yandle and fired it into the Flames’ net to give Phoenix a 3-2 lead.
With MacDonald on the bench in favour of an extra attacker, the Flames couldn’t complete a second comeback and Klinkhammer added the empty netter with six seconds remaining in the game to push the final to 4-2.
Radim Vrbata opened scoring with his 200th career goal in the first period and Ribeiro staked the Coyotes to a 2-0 lead midway through the second period.
Working out of the corner, Mikkel Boedker fired a shot that Ribeiro deflected by Flames’ starter Joey MacDonald at 10:19 and after a review was credited with his fourth goal in as many games to give Phoenix a two-goal edge held until Stempniak's marker in the final minutes of the frame.
GOAL OF THE GAME
Sprung on a breakaway by Hudler, Coborne made no mistake in converting for his first goal as a member of the Flames, throwing a deke on Smith and tucking it into the net three minutes into the third period.
SAVE OF THE GAME
Down 1-0 and MacDonald trapped on the other side of the crease, Ribeiro circled behind the net but was denied by Mike Cammalleri on the other side of the post near the midway mark of the first period.
Ribeiro’s second of the night just 2:47 after the Flames tied the game at two proved to be too much to overcome for Calgary, who fall to 4-3-2 on the season.
STAT OF THE GAME
Russell played 25:02 in the game, his highest total as a member of the Flames and most since March 15, 2010 when he saw 28:18 as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“I really liked our last 40 minutes. I felt we gave ourselves a chance to win the game.”
Mark Giordano, Tim Jackman and Brian McGrattan were scratched for the Flames in Phoenix. Matt Stajan remains out of the lineup with a lower-body injury.
After playing back-to-back games against the Los Angeles Kings and Coyotes, Calgary returns to action Thursday against the Dallas Stars (6:30 p.m. MT, SNET-CGY).