GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 01: Antoine Vermette #50 of the Phoenix Coyotes falls to the ice as he attempts to play the puck past Derek Smith #27 of the Calgary Flames during the first period of the NHL game at Jobing.com Arena on March 1, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix and Calgary met for the second Thursday night in row this evening at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. Just like in last week's game the Coyotes allowed the Flames to take a multi-goal lead into the locker room at the first intermission. However, unlike last week the boys from Phoenix failed to execute a successful comeback. They lost by a score of 4-2. With the loss the Yotes twelve game point streak, seven game home winning streak, six game winning streak, and Mike Smith's eleven game winning streak all ended.
The Coyotes looked listless and had trouble making even simple passes in the first stanza. Mike Smith looked impressive during the first 14 minutes of the period. With less than six minutes left in the 1st the floodgates opened. An Oliver Ekman-Larsson turnover led to a Mike Cammalleri goal. The Coyotes then let in 2 more goals before the period ended. The second goal was was a shorted handed goal by Curtis Glencross that Mike Smith should have saved. The third goal was a result of a sloppy drop pass in front of Smith by Michal Rozsival. Olli Jokinen was the Calgary player who intercepted the pass and put it in the Yotes net with less than three minutes to go in the period. The Flames took four penalties in the period including one by Mark Giordano late that would come back to haunt Calgary in the 2nd period.
The second period was a completely different animal than the first minus the Flames continuing to take penalties. The Coyotes got on the board with a power play goal on a deflection by Raffi Torres while Giordano was still in the penalty box.. The Desert Dogs scored again less than two minutes later. Martin Hanzal (not to be confused with the Hansel guy from fairy tale lore) kept a puck alive with one on hand on his stick. The puck had just enough momentum to find its way onto Michal Rozsival stick as he was skating into the slot. Rozy blasted the puck past Calgary goalie Mikka Kipprusoff. Ray Whitney had several chances to even the game up later in the period. First, he had a breakaway attempt and then later he had a shot go off Kipper's mask. The second period ended with Calgary leading 3-2.
The final period found the Flames regaining momentum. This doesn't mean Phoenix was without their chances to tie the game though. Oliver Ekman-Larsson had the best chance when he hit the inside of the post less than seven minutes into the 3rd. The game essentially ended when Antoine Vermette took a penalty with less than three minutes to go in the game. Though the Flames didn't score on the ensuing power play they were able to limit the Yotes from getting scoring chances late. Not long after the power play expired Jarome Iginla sealed the deal with an empty net goal.
- Keith Yandle was like Jekkyl and Hyde all evening. He had an assist, a penalty, several bad turnovers, and some nice offensive skill plays. He still is lacking consistent play in his own end. To be fair he played a whopping 30:46 in the game. This was in part due to the amount of power play the Yotes power play had.
- Speaking of inconsistent, the Coyotes power play was brutal to start the game. The Yotes had trouble just entering the zone and keeping possession of the puck. Things improved on their last three opportunities.
- Paul Bissonette and Tim Jackman danced again like they did in last week's game. Amusing sideshow. Meant nothing in terms of the actual game.
- The sooner Rusty Klesla gets back the better. His absences this year have been extremely noticeable.
- Smith and Kiprusoff 's play in net kept the game lower scoring than it could have been. Neither team did a outstanding job in their own zone.
- The Coyotes were due for a game where they couldn't come back and win after being down early. You dig as many holes as they have lately eventually there will be one you can't get out of.
Five For Winning
1. Don't take Penalties. The Coyotes have done an excellent job of staying out of the box this season. They have taken the fewest penalties in the NHL (230) and are averaging the fewest penalty minutes per game (8.3). Their discipline should come in handy against Calgary. The Flames have the fifth best power play on the road this season (21.3%) best in the league. The Coyotes took four penalties and it was really only three if you take away Biz's coincidental fighting major.
2. Secondary scoring. It's great that The Whitney-Hanzal-Vrbata line has been scoring with such regularity, but the Yotes need to get more consistent scoring from their second and third lines. Goals by a 4th liner and a d-man certainly count. However, the 2nd and 3rd lines are still struggling to generate offense.
3. Score early. We could permanently put this one in every Five For Winning. In this case it is not just based on stats. The Flames aren't coming into the game with much in the way of confidence. The Desert Dogs would do best to make them even less confident by jumping on the boys from Alberta early. The Flames scored the first three goals. Mission Not Accomplished.
4. End things in regulation. Obviously, no one wants to see Calgary, a team chasing Phoenix, getting any points. The Coyotes have played extra time in seven of their last nine games. They need to start finishing teams off earlier. It ended in regulation...poorly.
5. Energy. One would expect the Flames to come out ready to hit anything that moves. They are getting close to being desperate in terms of the playoff race. The Coyotes need to be able to match their intensity level. The Yotes don't have enough skill to to be able take periods/games off and expect to win. The Yotes only brought their full intensity for the 2nd period. They were outplayed for much of the 1st and 3rd periods. That didn't cut it against a hungry Calgary squad and it won't cut it against any other NHL either.
Our Three Stars
1. Mikka Kiprusoff - He saved 29 of 31 shots and made several spectacular saves including the one where he used his mask.
2. Jarome Iginla - The Calgary captain led by example all night. He went into high traffic areas and crashed the net. He had an assit on the Falmes first goal of the night and book ended things by scoring an empty net goal.
3. Raffi Torres - Like Iginla, Torres brought energy every time he was on the ice. The power play goal was just a bonus. If the rest of the team had played the way Torres did there might have been a different game result.
Comment of the Night