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Coyotes 3, Flames 2 @NHLdotcom

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Curtis Joseph wasn't exactly feeling jinxed. He certainly was happy about earning his 400th NHL victory, though.

"It was better sooner than later, because sometimes milestones get tougher and tougher to get once you start talking about them," Joseph said after making 13 saves in a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night. "I'm happy we came out and arguably played our best game of the year."

Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky, the NHL scoring leader, was impressed by Joseph's 400-292-90 record.

"There is so much parity in the game today, there are so many teams that are stronger, and it is much tougher to get 400 wins now," Gretzky said. "There is such a fine line between winning and losing, so to accomplish something like that in this era is pretty special."

Mike Comrie scored twice, including the winner when he backhanded a rebound past Philippe Sauve with 1:28 left. Ladislav Nagy's shot from the slot was blocked by Sauve but Mike Johnson and then Comrie got their sticks on the puck to redirect it.

It gave Phoenix its fourth win in six games and made Joseph the ninth NHL goalie to reach 400 victories, following two straight losses.

Joseph (4-3-0) won No. 399 on Oct. 18 at Edmonton. He was denied his 400th on Oct. 20 at Vancouver when Matt Cooke's disputed putback goal was decisive. Phoenix claimed Ed Jovanovski, who assisted, skated into Joseph before knocking the net off its moorings, but referees held that the puck crossed the goal line first.

Joseph also dropped a 5-3 decision at Anaheim on Sunday.

Other 400-game winners include: Patrick Roy (551); Terry Sawchuk; Jacques Plante; Ed Belfour; Tony Esposito; Glenn Hall; Martin Brodeur and Grant Fuhr, the Coyotes' goaltending coach, who had 403.

Despite facing a low number of shots, the Flames outshot the Coyotes 7-5 in the third period, Joseph had to battle for the win. Jarome Iginla, who had Calgary's first goal, got a breakaway with about 9:20 remaining and fired from the slot, but the shot went wide left.

The scoreboard never changed to reflect a shot, but Iginla was sure he saw the puck go off Joseph's blocker or shoulder.

"It stinks," Iginla said. "They found a way to win it, and we found a way not to get a point. We have to have a point from that game, minimum, so that was a lesson. There, especially, to have a chance to break away and then not get that goal, I'd love to have that opportunity back."

Andrew Ference also scored for the Flames, and Daymond Langkow had two assists.

Zbynek Michalek had Phoenix's first goal, and Paul Mara had two assists.

Although he gave up the lead in the second period, Sauve kept the Flames in the game by stopping 14 shots, including all eight the Coyotes took during a double power play when they had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:34.

Sauve, making his first start after the Flames traded a 2006 draft pick to Colorado for him in August, had 31 saves.

"You wait for so long and you want a better result," he said. "It was tough to swallow."

Calgary coach Darryl Sutter gave the young goalie, 7-8-3 in his career, a vote of confidence.

"He did fine," Sutter said. "He gave us a chance to win. He probably wishes he could have had a couple of rebounds back."

The Coyotes took a 2-1 lead into the third period, but Ference tied it with a slap shot from the point 6:54 in.

Joseph, who beat the Flames 2-0 on Oct. 17, made it four consecutive scoreless periods against them when he turned back five shots in the first.

But the string ran out on Calgary's first shot of the second when Iginla found the back of the net 3:09 in.

The Coyotes, who had seven of their 11 power plays in the second, scored twice with a man advantage to take the lead.

Phoenix tied it when Oleg Saprykin passed across the slot to Mara, who fired a shot that Sauve blocked with his stick while sprawled full-length in the crease. Michalek knocked in the rebound at 9:48 of the second.

Comrie made it 2-1 with 7:23 to go.

Notes: Coyotes G Brian Boucher, out since his first exhibition game with a groin strain, hurt his left knee rehabilitating with San Antonio, Phoenix's AHL affiliate, on Thursday. Boucher had an MRI that revealed no ligament or cartilage damage, and said the mishap would only delay his return to the parent team a week. ... Langkow played his first game in Glendale Arena since 2003-04, when he was with Phoenix. ... Mara is back in his pre-lockout form. The defenseman, who finished 2003-04 second in Coyotes assists with 36, has a team-high eight in 12 games this season.

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