Coming off a rough 6-1 loss in Vancouver on Monday, the Phoenix Coyotes came into Calgary looking for a solid showing with Shane Doan, Mike Ribeiro, Zbynek Michalek and Mike Smith back on the ice.
Perhaps the rest was exactly what the veterans needed, as each offered crucial contributions to a 3-2 overtime victory.
After a scoreless and offensively quiet first period, with only 11 shots on goal between the two teams, the Coyotes came out strong in the second with Doan tipping in a power play goal just past the one minute mark of the period. The Coyotes would extend the lead late in the period when Oliver Ekman-Larsson buried a wrister past Calgary Flames netminder Reto Berra after a nifty feed through traffic from Ribeiro.
The fireworks in the second weren't limited to the scoring, as Mike Smith took exception to being run over in the crease by Calgary forward David Jones. A frustrated Smith indicated his displeasure by delivering a few punches to Jones' head during the ensuing scrum.
The tide shifted in the third period, as the Coyotes struggled in their own zone and the Flames tied the game at two on the strength of goals from Lance Bouma and Corban Knight less than two minutes apart.
While it seemed last season's achilles heel of not finishing games might down the Coyotes again, they held on through a Michael Stone hooking pealty to win the game in overtime with a laser of a slapshot from the blue line by Michalek.
- The Coyotes continue to show progress on the power play, which bodes well for a team that struggled last season.
- Mike Ribeiro showed some of the offensive flair the Coyotes are looking for from him with several slick passes, including the assist on the Ekman-Larsson goal.
- Mike Smith is beginning to look more like the goalie we saw in the 2011-12 season, with several excellent saves, stellar puck handling and yes -- a flash of aggressiveness.
- Antoine Vermette once again displayed his prowess in the face off circle, going 15 of 21 for a 71.4% win rate.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- Mike Smith: Stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced, looking like the Smitty that carried the Coyotes to the Western Conference Finals two seasons ago.
- Zbynek Michalek: Over 23 minutes of ice time and a beautiful game winning slapper from the point.
- Mikkel Boedker: Had a hand in two of the three Coyotes goals, fitting in nicely on the top line.
The Coyotes wrap up the preseason with a home contest against the San Jose Sharks on Friday night. Game time is 7 p.m.