Coyotes 5, Flames 4

Offense is a bonus for Phoenix forward Vernon Fiddler.

By his own admission, Fiddler is a body crasher, a mucker, a

defensive specialist.

That all changed Friday night when the 30-year-old Fiddler had

his first NHL hat trick to lead the Phoenix Coyotes to a 5-4

victory over the Calgary Flames.

The attendance-challenged Coyotes, playing before an announced

crowd of 11,117, held off the Calgary after giving up two goals in

the final 49 seconds.

Fiddler had scored two goals three times in his career before

breaking through against the Flames.

Growing up in Edmonton, Fiddler said he was an Oilers fan, and

his hat trick against Calgary was special.

”Yeah, you always want to beat the Flames, so this feels real

good,” Fiddler said. ”My style is more defensive, but I guess I

got three lucky bounces. The bottom line, though, is we picked two

points in the standings, and that’s what this game boiled

down.”

Lee Stempniak and Scottie Upshall also scored to help the

Coyotes win consecutive games for the first time this season. Rene

Bourque, Ian White, Alex Tanguay and Tim Jackson scored for

Calgary.

”This was a big character win for us,” said Upshall, who

picked up the Coyotes’ third goal of the night. ”We’ve had trouble

putting wins together, so this was huge for us. It’s just a big

win.”

Fiddler tied it at 1 early in the second period with his first

goal of the season. He made it 4-2 midway through the final period

when he jammed in a loose puck in the crease, and completed the hat

trick with an empty-net goal that made it 5-2 with 1:38 to go.

The Flames made it close when Tanguay and Jackson scored 29

seconds apart in the final minute.

The Flames opened the scoring when Bourque slammed a rebound

past Ilya Bryzgalov at 9:24 of the first.Z

Calgary peppered Bryzgalov with 24 shots in the two periods. The

shot total reflected Bryzgalov’s season work load. He ranks third

in the NHL in shots against, third in saves and sixth in minutes

played.

The Coyotes scored three times in the first 8:21 of the second

to take a 3-1 lead.

The Flames’ line of Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrison and Tanguay

accounted for two points in this game, and continue to raise

concern for their lack of scoring. Combined, they have 10 goals so

far this season.

”Tough night again for these guys, and they need to fight

through this,” Calgary coach Brent Sutter said. ”Offensively,

we’re not consistent, so players need to help in other ways.”

Fiddler picked up his first when he drove a loose puck behind

Miikka Kiprusoff at 1:34. Then, Stempniak converted a pass from

Vojtek Wolski on a 2-on-1 for his fifth of the season at 5:22.

Upshall capped the spree with his fourth goal of the season,

blasting the puck over Kiprusoff’s left shoulder.

The Flames responded with Ian White’s power goal with 7:20 left

in the period – 8 seconds after Eric Belanger was called for

cross-checking. The Flames’ goal was only their third power-play

score of the season on the road.

The two points were particularly important to the Coyotes.

”Points are valuable, period,” coach Dave Tippett said. ”We

need players to compete and battle hard. Winning in this league is

not all that easy.”

NOTES: The Coyotes assigned defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to

San Antonio of the AHL. He was the team’s top pick in the 2009

draft. … Phoenix captain Shane Doan missed his fourth straight

game because of a lower-back injury. … Calgary star Jarome Iginla

has one goal since Oct. 19.