Coyotes succumb to Flames in OT, get point
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- Mark Giordano had no intention of giving up this game in order for the Calgary Flames to get a better pick in the upcoming NHL draft.
Giordano scored the winning goal 4:36 into overtime, and the also-ran Flames snapped a three-game home losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday night.
"It always feels great to score, no matter what," Giordano said. "But obviously, an OT winner, you don't get those too often, so it feels great."
Curtis Glencross and Mikael Backlund combined to set up Giordano just inside the blue line. While goalie Mike Smith was screened, Giordano put a shot just inside the goal post. Smith just shrugged his shoulders as if he didn't see the puck.
"I knew there was under a minute left, so you're just trying to get a good, quality chance," Giordano said. "I don't think it was a great chance, but I think there was a lot of time for me. There was a lot of people in front, so I just tried to wrist it through."
In the overall NHL standings, the Flames pulled even with the Carolina Hurricanes, who are two points ahead of the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche, the teams tied for last in the league.
"As players, we want to win -- we're not worried about anything else," Giordano said. "It (is bad) going home after a game and thinking about all the mistakes you made in a loss."
Antoine Vermette and Keith Yandle scored for the Coyotes (18-16-7), who earned three of a possible six points on a three-game trip.
It was a costly loss for Phoenix, which is in a three-way tie just below the postseason cutoff in the Western Conference with Dallas and Columbus. The three teams trail eighth-place Detroit by two points. Phoenix and Columbus have seven games remaining. Dallas has eight games left.
"It's good to get one point versus no points," said Yandle, who tied the game with just over five minutes left in the third. "We've got seven games left, and we've got to take care of what we can take care of and get two points in as many games as we can."
Jiri Hudler and Lee Stempniak also scored for Calgary (15-21-4), which had lost six of seven.
Although the Coyotes outshot the Flames 11-2 in the third period, they hadn't had a good scoring chance until Yandle took a diagonal pass from Derek Morris and fired a one-timer from the faceoff circle that beat goalie Joey MacDonald over his glove to tie it 2-2.
Stempniak had put the Flames ahead 2-1 at 18:52 of the second period, scoring on a power play. TJ Brodie's slap shot was partially stopped by Smith, but the puck trickled through, and Stempniak raced to the net and poked the puck over the line for his first goal in 15 games.
Phoenix opened the scoring 1:29 in, before many in the announced sold-out crowd of 19,289 had settled into their seats. Vermette got to his own rebound and scored his 10th of the season from the top of the crease.
Coyotes captain Shane Doan thought his team let up after the fast start.
"We were trying to be a little too lackadaisical, too relaxed with the puck, trying to be cute," Doan said. "Scoring a goal early was big, but it almost put you back into the kind of relaxed state instead of being aggressive. We can't have that happen."
Calgary tied it 1-1 in the final minute of the first. From behind the net, Mikael Backlund centered the puck, which caromed off the skate of Hudler and got behind Smith. It was the eighth goal of the season for Hudler, who was back in the lineup after missing two games because of an upper body injury.
Phoenix nearly took the lead in the second when Mikkel Boedker's slap shot off the wing was stopped. Alexandre Bolduc, who drove to the net, was robbed on the rebound as MacDonald scrambled across. Bolduc slammed his stick into the boards in disbelief.
MacDonald finished with 29 saves. Smith had 22 stops.
Smith made his fourth start in a row after returning from an upper-body injury. He entered having stopped 93 of 95 shots in his previous three appearances.
"That was obviously big to get a point, but not good enough; we need to get two," Doan said. "You have to try and stay within striking distance."
The Flames lost veteran forward Alex Tanguay 6:42 into the second period when his knee buckled under him while he battled for the puck in the Coyotes' end. He was helped off the ice and didn't put weight on his left leg.
"It doesn't look good," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "The doctors were around him when I got in (the dressing room). I didn't see it, but (assistant coach) Marty Gelinas saw a replay somewhere and said it's ugly."
NOTES: Before the game, Calgary signed of Ben Hanowski to a two-year, entry-level contract. Hanowski, 22, was acquired from Pittsburgh in the Jarome Iginla trade. His NCAA career just concluded when St. Cloud State lost Thursday in the semifinals of the Frozen Four. ... Dennis Wideman earned his 200th career assist on Stempniak's goal. ... Phoenix D Rostislav Klesla was a healthy scratch. ... Smith is two shutouts away from tying Bob Essensa and Sean Burke (15) for third on the Coyotes' career shutouts list.