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Coyotes defeat Flames in OT for Tippett's 500th win

by Jerry Brown /

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Coyotes celebrate each victory by awarding a gaudy, professional wrestling-style belt to the key player of the game.

But after Dave Tippett earned his 500th NHL coaching victory in a 2-1 overtime win against the Calgary Flames at Gila River Arena on Friday, he received the belt from his players.

"I'm not wearing it. I can't even lift it," said Tippett, who tied Toe Blake for 22nd on the NHL's all-time wins list. "It means I've been around a long time and been really lucky in the two organizations I've worked for (also the Dallas Stars). Players win games, and I've been fortunate to work with some great players."

Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored with 39.9 seconds left in overtime, allowing Arizona to escape with a win despite giving Calgary six power plays and putting 18 shots on goal in regulation.

The Coyotes did just enough to allow them to present Tippett with his hardware.

"I still enjoy it," Tippett said. "I'm still really happy when we win, and when you lose, you're not happy. It's a good sign that it's still that way after this long. I've been involved in a lot of ugly games among those 500 wins, and it was probably fitting that it was an ugly game."

Arizona (12-9-1) lost all five games to Calgary last season. But things have changed. The Coyotes are 7-1-0 inside the Pacific Division -- outscoring their opponents 28-14 -- and have a chance for their third win on home ice in four days when they host the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

Mike Smith made 25 saves for the Coyotes, who have won four of their past five at home, and Martin Hanzal scored his fifth goal in the second period.

With Calgary's three skaters exhausted after getting stuck on the ice for a long shift, Coyotes forward Brad Richardson found Ekman-Larsson from behind the Flames net for the winner on a one-timer from the slot.

"We got lucky to get a win tonight," said Ekman-Larsson, whose fifth goal of the season was the 19th game-winner of his NHL career, tying Teppo Numminen for the Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets franchise lead among defensemen. "Our penalty-kill unit was unbelievable, and Smitty played great back there tonight. They are the reason we got the points tonight."

Ramo made 18 saves in his 12th straight start for the Flames (8-13-2), who were 5-0 in the NHL's new 3-on-3 overtime.

"We had a real strong effort and we played a good game," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "I felt our boys deserved a better result. We had a few chances in overtime, but if you don't get one on yours, they'll get one, and that's what they got."

Mark Giordano scored Calgary's goal on the power play in the second period. But the Flames, who entered Saturday ranked 29th in the NHL on the power play, failed on five other chances with the man-advantage

"We had a lot of shots and I think we outplayed them," Calgary defenseman Dougie Hamilton said. "That's the way we have to play. It's just unfortunate we weren't able to score more than one goal."

After a scoreless first period, the Coyotes struck 29 seconds into the second period.

Hanzal set up Tobias Rieder for a sharp-angled shot that struck the far post. The puck bounced out toward Hanzal and Calgary's Jiri Hudler, who were battling near the crease, and it ricocheted off Hanzal's skate and into the open side of the net.

Hanzal has scored each of his five goals in the past eight games. He has a least one point in 14 of the 20 games he's played.

After taking two penalties on the first period, the Coyotes took two more in the second, and the Flames finally cashed in on their fourth power play, ending a streak of 16 failed man-advantage opportunities.

Hudler's shot from the right circle deflected off the sticks of Calgary forward Johnny Gaudreau and Arizona defenseman Connor Murphy before going to Giordano just outside the crease. Giordano swept his fifth goal between Smith's pads at 16:40 to tie it 1-1.

It stayed that way until the teams went to 3-on-3 and Ekman-Larsson earned Arizona the extra point.

"They were the better team tonight, but we took the two points," Hanzal said. "We have a chance to bring a better jump and have a better performance tomorrow and sweep these three games at home."

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