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Flames snap home skid by beating Coyotes

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames' worst run on home ice in franchise history is over.

Karri Ramo stopped 30 shots and Calgary snapped a team-record seven-game home losing streak by hanging on to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

The Flames had gone nearly a month between home wins; their last victory at the Saddledome prior to Wednesday was a 4-3 shootout win against the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 23. Since then, the Flames had dropped seven straight on home ice -- all in regulation -- and had been outscored 22-4 in their own building.

"We needed that," said Matt Stajan, whose third-period goal stood as the winner. "We've been fighting it here on home ice, there's no secret to that. We got some timely goals and Ramo did a good job there. And as a team, we didn't give up much. Most of the shots were from the outside. We can start building off that one."

Calgary's slump-snapping win continued the Coyotes' recent woes. Despite winning two of their past four outings, Phoenix has earned two points in just four of its past 15 games.

"When we had opportunities to bury it, we didn't, and they found ways to score on their opportunities," said captain Shane Doan, whose third-period goal got the Coyotes within one. "It seems to be the testament the last couple games. We're good, but we're not exactly what we need to [be]. We're finding ways to lose a game by a goal.

"Lately we've been playing the way we want to a lot more. It's been better, but not good enough."

Sean Monahan's goal midway through the first period gave Calgary its first lead at home since Brian McGrattan's second-period goal in a 2-1 overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 12. After TJ Galiardi poked the puck past Keith Yandle and stepped around him, he fired a cross-ice pass from just in front of the goal line to Monahan, who tapped in his team-leading 14th of the season at 11:44 to put the Flames up 1-0.

"I saw Yandle; it kind of looked like he was going to pinch and then he decided not to so he was flat-footed," Galiardi said. "I was able to chip it by him and Monahan made a great play stopping at the net. A lot of guys just swing by on that. It just shows how good a scorer he is and how much of a knack he has for the net. I got it to him and he put it in."

The Coyotes nearly got even 35 seconds later when Lauri Korpikoski fed a backhand pass through the slot onto the stick of Mike Ribeiro, who was denied by the arm of a sprawling Ramo. Just 25 seconds after Ribeiro's chance, David Jones countered with one of his own, failing to slide a backhand between the legs of Mike Smith after sneaking behind the defense and going in alone.

Lance Bouma made it 2-0 at 8:48 of the second period by rifling a shot over Smith's glove and just under the crossbar after a nifty bounce pass off the boards sprung him for a breakaway.

Coyotes center Antoine Vermette scored his second shorthanded goal in as many games, blasting a one-timer off Korpikoski's pass over Ramo's shoulder at 12:27 to cut the deficit to 2-1.

But Stajan scored his first since signing a four-year, $14 million contract extension on Monday to restore Calgary's two-goal cushion. A broken play between Jones and Mark Giordano let Stajan step into a loose puck in the high slot; he beat Smith to give the Flames a 3-1 lead with 3:59 remaining in the period.

"You don't get many like that as a forward, where you're the late guy," Stajan said. "Your eyes kind of light up when you see that one sitting flat for you. [I] had some good net-front presence from my linemates and I was able to get it in."

Phoenix chipped away again in the third when Doan's shot off the wing snuck under the pad of Ramo at 6:50 to make it a one-goal game again. The Coyotes pressed for the tying goal but couldn't get another puck past Ramo.

"He played great," Giordano said of Ramo. "He's been great lately for us and again, I thought he made big saves at big times, especially in the third."

Phoenix coach Dave Tippett was pleased with his team's effort.

"We have to just keep pounding away," he said. "We've got a lot of guys who are playing hard. We just have to turn it into results."

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