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Giordano ends scoring drought with game winner as Flames beat Coyotes in OT

The SportsXchange

CALGARY -- Mark Giordano ended a 10-game goal-scoring drought at a perfect time.

The Calgary Flames defenseman picked the top corner from the point with 23 seconds remaining in the sudden-death session as the Flames scratched out a 3-2 overtime victory against the Phoenix Coyotes at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

"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."

Down the hall, the Coyotes weren't feeling quite as good.

With the eighth-place Detroit Red Wings suffering a 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, the Coyotes (18-16-7) needed at least a point to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race.

They got it, but they would have preferred two. They Coyotes remain two points behind the Wings for the final post-season berth.

"That was obviously big to get a point, but it's not good enough," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan. "We need to get two."

The Flames (15-21-4), meanwhile, are still in 14th in the Western Conference.

Fans who want the team to tank to ensure they have a high draft pick can blame Giordano and goalie Joey MacDonald for ensuring they earned two points on this night.

MacDonald made 27 saves in regulation time, including 10 in the final frame, to get the Flames into the extra session, and Giordano made sure a shootout wasn't required.

"We always talk about you've got to work for your breaks and maybe tonight, we didn't deserve it," said Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle, who tied it up with 5:04 to go in the third period. "You've got to come out right away and play hard to earn your breaks, and we didn't do that tonight. It was good to get one point.

"We'd rather get one point than no points."

The Scotiabank Saddledome was only half-full when Coyotes center Antoine Vermette gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, banging in his own rebound just 1:29 after the opening faceoff.

The Flames tied it up with less than a minute remaining in the opening period, when Mikael Backlund's attempted pass from the corner hit Jiri Hudler's skate and changed directions. The play was reviewed, but it was ruled a good goal.

The Flames grabbed the lead late in the second period. With Yandle in the penalty box for tripping, T.J. Brodie's blast from the blue-line squeaked through Mike Smith's pads and winger Lee Stempniak poked the puck into the net for the powerplay marker. With the goal, Stempniak snapped his 14-game stretch without a goal.

Yandle earned a sliver of revenge with about five minutes remaining in the third period, beating MacDonald with a one-timer after he was set up by defense partner Derek Morris.

Giordano accepted a pass from Curtis Glencross as the time ticked off the clock in overtime and fired a wrister from the point for the winning goal.

With the victory, the Flames snapped a three-game losing streak on home ice. Just as important, their young guys continued to give the fans some optimism for the future.

"I think it gives us the confidence to win," said 21-year-old Flames center Max Reinhart, who was named the second star in his fourth NHL game. "I've only been around for a little bit, but it feels a lot better winning in the room than it does losing. I think it's just it's just more experience for all us young guys."

NOTES: The Flames boarded a flight immediately after Friday's game and will face the provincial-rival Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. ... The Coyotes will enjoy a two-day break before Monday's game against the San Jose Sharks. ... Flames left-winger Alex Tanguay suffered a knee injury in the second period and did not return. ... Flames prospect Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College) was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, although Drew LeBlanc (St. Cloud State) collected the hardware at Friday's banquet in Pittsburgh. ... Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone spent four seasons with the Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen. Prior to Thursday's playoff game at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Stone left a good-luck message for his former team on the white-board in their dressing room. It worked, as the Hitmen advanced to the third round. ... With Hudler returning from an upper-body injury, the Flames reassigned center Blair Jones to their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, B.C. ... Coyotes winger Lauri Korpikoski (upper-body) missed a ninth straight game due to injury, while veteran defenseman Rostislav Klesla was a healthy scratch. Prior to the game, Phoenix assigned forward Chris Brown to Portland of the AHL. ... The Flames signed winger Ben Hanowski to a two-year, two-way contract. The 22-year-old, acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Jarome Iginla trade, just finished his senior season at St. Cloud State, registering 17 goals and 14 assists in 37 games. ... Yale forward Kenny Agostino, also acquired by the Flames in the Iginla swap, will play in Saturday's NCAA Frozen Four final.
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