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Giordano, Flames sink Coyotes in OT

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The Phoenix Coyotes came to Scotiabank Saddledome desperate for two points. The Calgary Flames let them leave with only one.

A late goal by Keith Yandle forced overtime, but Mark Giordano's goal with 23.1 seconds remaining in the extra period lifted the Flames to a 3-2 victory and cost the Coyotes a much-needed point.

For Phoenix, scrambling for a playoff berth, one point was better than going home empty-handed.

"We'd rather get one point than no points," Yandle said. "I thought we didn't start our greatest but we battled as a group, we came back. It's good to get one point."

They had several chances to get the second point in OT before Giordano drifted into the high slot and snapped a quick shot through a screen that beat goaltender Mike Smith to the blocker side and rang off the post before settling across the goal line.

"It feels great," Giordano said. "It always feel great to score no matter what, but obviously an OT winner, you don't get those too often, so it feels great.”

After Phoenix mustered just five shots through the first 14 minutes of the third period, Yandle's one-timer from just below the faceoff dot with 5:04 remaining in the third period tied the game 2-2, potentially saving Phoenix's season by forcing extra time and earning them a point.

"You're down by one, you'repressing," Yandle said. "I was up in the play just trying to find an opening. It came back to [Derek Morris], he made a heck of a pass, it was right in my wheelhouse. It was right on a tee and if you don't score those, you don't deserve them."

Calgary goaltender Joey MacDonald weathered the storm after Yandle's goal, making five more saves in regulation and another three in overtime to set the stage for Giordano's fourth of the season.

"Once they got that second goal, I thought they put the pedal down and had a few good chances, but we stick with it," MacDonald said. "We got into overtime and hey, you never know what's going to happen. You throw pucks on net and good things happen.”

The single point gave the Coyotes 43, the same as the Dallas Stars and Columbus Blue Jackets -- and two fewer than the Detroit Red Wings, who hold eighth place in the Western Conference. Dallas has eight games remaining; the Red Wings, Coyotes and Blue Jackets have seven.

"We've just got to focus on our job and win games," Yandle said. "I think we've got seven left and we just have to take care of what we can take care of and get two points in as many games as we can."

The Coyotes came out playing like a desperate team and wasted little time taking the lead.

Just 1:29 into the game, Chris Conner fed Antoine Vermette on the edge of the crease. MacDonald made the initial save, but Vermette grabbed his own rebound and lifted a backhand over the glove of the Flames goaltender and into the back of the net to give Phoenix the lead.

David Schlemko almost extended that lead to two with 7:11 remaining in the period when he fired a blast from just inside the faceoff circle that was met by a flashy glove save from MacDonald.

"[Joey MacDonald] kept us in the game with that glove save in the first period," coach Bob Hartley said.

That save sparked Jiri Hudler.

After having one chance denied by Smith, Hudler parked himself in front of the Phoenix net on the same shift and had Mikael Backlund's centering feed bounce off his skate and behind Smith with 55.2 seconds remaining to get the Flames even.

Lee Stempniak broke the tie late in the second period on another second effort from the Flames.

Stempniak got behind the Coyotes' defense and in alone on Smith, who made a pad save off. The rebound worked its way back to TJ Brodie at the point, whose shot squeezed through Smith and sat just shy of the goal line until Stempniak poked it across, snapping his 11-game drought and giving Calgary a 2-1 lead with 1:08 remaining.

Mikkel Boedker was a post away from drawing Phoenix even just 45 seconds later, ringing a late period shot off the iron before watching the rebound slowly slide past the far post. It was Phoenix's best scoring opportunity until Yandle's game-tying goal late in the third gave Phoenix a point.

"That was obviously big to get a point but it's not good enough," Shane Doan said. "We need to get two. We can't do anything about it now. We've got to find a way to get ready for our next game. We play Monday and we've got to be ready to go."

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