After riding workhorse Miikka Kiprusoff
for over 20 games, the Calgary Flames handed the netminding reigns to Henrik Karlsson
It was the 27 year-old's first start since Jan. 21 when he led his club to a 7-4 victory over the Dallas Stars at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Karlsson did an excellent job in net, allowing two goals and making 29 saves. His best stop of the night came in the first period when the Coyotes surged into the zone on a three-on-two and Kyle Turris was able to tip a pass from the slot that looked destined for the back of the net. Karlsson got his body over in time to shoulder the shot out of harm's way. TAKEAWAY TWO: Sleepy first period
With both teams so close in the standings, the first period was a cautious affair for each side.
After 20 minutes, shots were 8-7 in favour of the Coyotes and both sides clamped down defensively to ensure scoring chances were at a minimum.
The Flames fell into a bit of penalty trouble with Mark Giordano
and Olli Jokinen
taking minors before the 15 minute mark rolled around but the Flames penalty killing quelled any momentum the Coyotes hoped to gain with the man advantage. TAKEAWAY THREE: Second period shutdown
After Brett MacLean opened the scoring at 1:51 of the middle frame, the Flames picked up the pace as they searched for the equalizer.
The Flames top line seemed to tilt the ice in their favour with an excellent forechecking shift around the 7:00 mark. The rest of the team gained energy from the line's ability to hem the Coyotes within their own zone.
Shift after shift was spent around Ilya Bryzgalov, throwing shot after shot at the Russian netminder. He was having no part of the Flames comeback attempt though and he stood his ground, keeping his team in the game.
Overall, Calgary put 19 shots on net in the second frame but nothing found its way past Bryzgalov.TAKEAWAY FOUR: Stalled power play
Calgary's power play has been going along at a nice clip over the past few months but the man advantage didn't come in handy on Thursday night.
The Coyotes gave the Flames three chances on the power play through 60 minutes of play and while the Flames were able to generate some chances and set up shop in the zone, nothing ended up in the back of the net thanks to Bryzgalov.
A big issue was the lack of traffic in front of the net during the power play. Bryzgalov was able to see the vast majority of the shots sent at him and seeing how on his game he was, nothing he could see was going to beat him.TAKEAWAY FIVE: Where they sit now
The loss in Phoenix has created a three-way tie for fourth in West. The Flames, Blackhawks and Coyotes now have 81 points.
The Flames next game comes on Saturday when they take on the Vancouver Canucks. Game time is 8:00 PM MT on CBC & The FAN 960.