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Byron, Giordano lead Flames past Coyotes

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- A streak survived and another was snapped to help power the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

Mark Giordano extended his point streak to eight games with the game-winning goal, and Paul Byron halted a 16-game drought with two goals to lift the Flames to a 5-3 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Scotiabank Saddledome.

Giordano's goal helped the Flames improve to 7-0-1 following a loss; the Carolina Hurricanes defeated Calgary 4-1 on Monday.

"It's been a focus of ours," Giordano said. "The good teams don't lose two, three, four games in a row. They cut the losing streaks off right away. I thought we had a tough game in Carolina, but the bounce-back was good. The guys were moving tonight. I thought we created a lot."

Arizona has lost three straight following a three-game winning streak. The Coyotes will continue their three-game Western Canada trip against the Vancouver Canucks on Friday before finishing it Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers.

"Way too many opportunities for them," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "We gave up to many chances and we have to be better. We had the opportunities to win the game, just dumb mental mistakes when we can't. We gave them some opportunities when we were pushing at the end, we just didn't play good enough.

"Obviously we have to be better defensively for us to have success long term, and we haven't been."

Giordano entered the game with at least a point in seven straight -- he had four goals and eight assists -- and was named the NHL's First Star of the Week on Monday for the week ending Nov. 9. He pushed his streak to eight with his sixth goal, which broke a 3-3 tie at 16:23 of the second period.

Skating four aside with Flames forward Curtis Glencross and Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle in the penalty box serving coincidental roughing minors, TJ Brodie crept into the slot and froze Arizona goaltender Mike Smith before dishing off to Giordano, parked just off the post, for a one-timer to put Calgary ahead.

"As soon as he got the puck, I knew exactly what he was going to do," said Giordano, who leads all NHL defensemen in points with 20. "He's got that great fake. He took the puck to the middle of the ice to draw the guy even more over, and I was just wide open. I just tried to hit the net from there to be honest.

"I didn't know if it went in or not at first, but it was sort of in and out, and it was a nice relief to get that one, especially after they sort of got a lucky one to tie the game."

Giordano's goal came after the Flames and Coyotes each scored twice earlier in the period.

Sven Baertschi connected with Byron for the second time in the game to put the Flames up 2-1 at 2:03 of the second period.

"It was a lot of work coming, a lot of time shooting pucks in practice with the coaching staff and stuff like that," Byron said of his breakout from the 16-game goal drought. "The chances have been coming, and I've been extremely happy with that. It was just a matter of time, I thought, before they started going in.

"It certainly changes your confidence going forward in the game. It gets a little mojo in the game and it feels like the rest of the game pucks seem to follow your stick a little bit. Hopefully I can keep that going."

Sean Monahan extended Calgary's lead to two after putting the puck behind Smith at 6:35 on his third swipe in a crease scramble. The goal was Monahan's seventh; he has four in the past five games.

Arizona responded with back-to-back goals to draw even.

On the power play with Calgary center Josh Jooris in the penalty box for cross checking, Doan, who had scored Arizona's first goal in the opening period, earned his second point of the game with a cross-crease pass to Antoine Vermette, who corralled the pass and beat Flames goalie Jonas Hiller to cut the lead to 3-2 at 9:58.

Vermette's goal snapped Arizona's 0-for-20 drought on the power play.

"It's a bunch of things obviously are not good enough; we just haven't been playing good enough," Doan said. "If the power play's working, something else isn't working. When the power play's not working, something else is. We got to get on the same page; everyone's got to get on the same page."

After Hiller couldn't control a dump-in behind the net, Joe Vitale caught the unsettled Flames goaltender with a sharp-angled shot, sneaking his second goal of the season across the goal line to tie the game at 13:54.

The Flames came close to adding to their lead eight minutes into the third period, but Smith made a sprawling, spinning pad save on David Jones. Smith followed that up by denying Byron of a hat trick after Brodie sprung the Flames forward in alone on a breakaway.

The insurance goal came at Smith's expense with 7:37 remaining.

Out to play the puck, Smith sent a rim around the boards that was intercepted by Jones, whose quick shot struck Arizona defenseman Connor Murphy and ricocheted into the net to put Calgary up 5-3.

Jones, who was a game-time decision after coming down with an illness late Wednesday, has three goals this season after scoring in three straight games.

"Well, I knew when I got here I was going to play no matter how bad I felt," Jones said. "I hate sitting out. At the end of the day, it's 17 minutes of ice time. You can get through it. I felt good enough. A few long shifts I got caught out there a little bit and was breathing pretty hard. You've just got to get in the game and sometimes you forget about how you're feeling and you play through it."

The Flames opened the scoring shortly after the Coyotes recorded their first shot on Hiller.

After scooping up the puck in the corner, Baertschi fed a backhand into the slot that pinballed off a couple of skates and the stick of Arizona defenseman Tobias Rieder before finding Byron, who beat Smith from the slot to put Calgary up 1-0 at 11:06.

It was Baertschi's first assist this season and his first point in the NHL since Dec. 10, 2013, when he played his final NHL game of the 2013-14 season.

"If you make a pass and it's a goal, you get a certain swagger to your game," said Baertschi, who was called up from Adirondack of the American Hockey League on Nov. 2. "And that's what I need, I think. Paulie did a great job with the first one -- he really stayed with the puck and put it in the net -- and that gave me some confidence to make plays out there. And the second one, same thing ... I just game him the puck, and he did the rest."

The Coyotes responded with 3:17 remaining in the period. Doan took a pass from Vermette just inside the Flames blue line and snapped a shot that beat Hiller glove side to tie the game 1-1.

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