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Hudler, Ramo lead Flames in shutout win vs. Coyotes

by Jerry Brown

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jiri Hudler is scoring goals left and right, and goalie Karri Ramo isn't giving up any. That's the recipe the Calgary Flames are using as they attempt to rise to the top of the Pacific Division.

Hudler had a goal and two assists in the Flames' 3-0 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Saturday, and Ramo earned his second consecutive road shutout with 26 saves.

TJ Brodie and Johnny Gaudreau also scored for the Flames (15-8-2), who have won six of their past eight games. The win moved Calgary within a point of the Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division, and a 9-5-0 road record is a big reason why the Flames are near the top of their division.

"Karri is seeing the puck really well and reading plays unbelievably, and our team play was really good tonight," Flames captain Mark Giordano said. "I thought the last two were two of our better games all year defensively. We're blocking a ton of shots but also clearing out rebounds and skating. We're playing more in the offensive zone than our zone, which is a huge plus."

Ramo, who shut out the San Jose Sharks in a 2-0 victory Wednesday, is the first Calgary goalie to post back-to-back road shutouts in almost 22 years; Mike Vernon did it in December 1992. Ramo has won four straight decisions and now has a scoreless streak of 129:34 dating back to a 5-4 win against the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 22. He is 3-0-0 against the Coyotes in his career, allowing three goals in the three games.

Hudler has scored in four straight games and has a total of five goals over that span to go with three assists. He has scored or assisted on each of the past six Calgary goals; he set up the Brodie and Gaudreau goals before getting one himself Saturday.

"The goals are coming from hard work. We are painful to play against," Hudler said. "If we have the puck more with more time to create, we have a lot of talented guys, and both our goalies have been good."

Calgary coach Bob Hartley said Saturday was Hudler's best game in an impressive season.

"That was the best we've seen of Jiri Hudler, not only offensively but in all three zones," Hartley said. "His commitment to helping the young players and playing the game the right way is exactly what we need.

"That is what is making a difference on this team. We have so many good veterans that are leading by example. It's contagious around the whole team, and it's fun."

The Coyotes (9-12-3) have lost five straight at home (0-3-2), and they have scored one goal or been shut out in four of the past six games overall, going 1-3-2 over that span. Arizona has gone more than 112 minutes without a goal.

"Until we have players who decide they can beat people 1-on-1 and do good things with the puck, we're going to end up defending," Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. "We've got to get out on the ice and get it done. It's one thing to talk about it. We had a meeting [Friday] and we thought we were all jacked up and ready to go, and the puck drops and we see the same thing."

Goalie Devan Dubnyk made 26 saves for the Coyotes, but lost for the first time in regulation (5-1-1).

"They work hard and they are relentless," Dubnyk said. "On every single loose puck, it seemed like they have a guy going hard on it. We can certainly take something from that on how we want to play too. It's tough to play against."

Tippett stressed more puck possession during a four-day break in the schedule this week. But there was very little of it for the Coyotes early in the game.

Calgary dominated the first period, outshooting Arizona 13-3 and earning a four-minute power play 59 seconds into play when Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker clipped center Josh Jooris in the face with a high stick.

But Dubnyk stopped all four shots on the power play, and then stoned Gaudreau on a breakaway, closing the pads to stop the rookie forward's backhand bid.

Gaudreau and Flames defenseman Kris Russell each had as many shots as the Coyotes in the period.

"It's tough when you take the four minutes right away; it takes a lot of guys out of the game to start," Arizona forward Brandon McMillan said. "It seemed like we couldn't get our legs after that. It was a weird game."

The second period was more of the same early, and Calgary finally cashed in. Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone tried to pinch along the boards, but he missed the puck, and the Flames took off on a 2-on-1. Hudler beautifully set up Brodie for a one-timer from the right circle, and the 24-year-old defenseman scored his sixth goal over Dubynk's shoulder at 4:34.

Brodie has two goals and five points in the past three games.

"If he doesn't score on that one, I'm not going to pass it to him anymore," Hudler said with a smile.

The Coyotes finally mustered some offense in the latter half of the second period, outshooting the Flames 13-3 after Brodie's goal. But Ramo was strong, makings stops on Keith Yandle and Martin Erat with the glove and on Tobias Rieder and McMillan in close to keep Calgary in front.

Neither team had a shot in the first four minutes of the third period, but the Flames made the most of their first. The Coyotes lost the puck on a rush in deep, and Gaudreau beat them down the ice before putting a wrist shot over Dubnyk's blocker for his fourth goal.

"It's good to finally get a goal," said Gaudreau, who had gone eight games without one. "I missed the breakaway in the beginning, but was glad I got another chance. That was a big game for us, and we're building a lot of momentum."

Hudler made it 3-0 on the power play when a blocked centering attempt dropped in the slot and he swept a backhander past Dubnyk at 7:13.

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