CALGARY, Alberta (AP)—The blue-collar Coyotes got it done again thanks to a pair of defensemen.
Keith Yandle(notes) and Michal Rozsival(notes) scored 19 seconds apart early in the third period to lift the Phoenix Coyotes to a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night in a key Western Conference matchup.
“We don’t have any 50-goal scorers or 100-points guys, we just have a lot of guys that chip in and do the dirty work and when we win, we win as a team,” Yandle said.
However, Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) helped the Coyotes preserve the win with 24 saves. He made a dazzling glove save off Tanguay in the first minute of the third and later stopped a shot from the slot by Niklas Hagman(notes) which would have tied the game.
“It’s good for the fans, it keeps them in it, and it’s good for the game, but obviously it’s not good for the blood pressure,” Yandle said.
Lee Stempniak(notes) and Eric Belanger(notes) also scored for Phoenix, which has won three in a row and is tied with Los Angeles for fourth in the tight Western Conference. Phoenix has two more stops on its road trip before returning to Arizona for a six-game homestand.
“It’s great to play teams like this, they bring the best out in us,” said Vern Fiddler, who with two assists was the only Coyote with a multipoint game. “It’s crunch time. If you lose one point, you seem to slide down in the standings so you can’t afford to lose any. It’s a matter of details and we seem to be doing the right things right now.”
Phoenix, which blanked Calgary 3-0 Thursday, swept the four-game season series.
Olli Jokinen(notes) had the other goal for Calgary. After playing sizzling hockey for two-and-a-half months, the suddenly banged up Flames have lost three straight for the first time since before Christmas.
The Flames are in eighth place in the West, just one point up on Nashville, which has two games in hand. Anaheim, which has played three fewer games than Calgary, is two back of the Flames.
“We’re at a critical point in the year and when you’re at a critical point you need to play with a huge urgency and I didn’t think we had it here tonight,” said a fuming Flames coach Brent Sutter. “I’m not going to sugar coat it, we’ve lost three in a row now at this time of the season—it’s unacceptable.”
Phoenix took a 2-1 lead at 6:11 of the second period, executing a perfect breakout from deep in their own end. Belanger took a pass and got around a flat-footed Bouwmeester, then broke in alone on Kiprusoff and tucked a backhand under the crossbar.
Bouwmeester was also victimized on the game’s opening goal as Phoenix surged in front 1-0 at 8:25 of the first. Taylor Pyatt(notes) made a strong play along the boards, eluding the check of Bouwmeester and carrying the puck behind the net, where he passed Fiddler, who quickly relayed in front for a Stempniak one-timer past a helpless Kiprusoff.
The suddenly banged-up Flames were missing Brendan Morrison(notes) (knee) as well as David Moss(notes), who replaced Morrison at center on the Flames’ top line five games ago. Moss hurt his ankle at practice on Monday and has an undetermined injury that had him hobbling around on crutches and wearing a boot on Tuesday.
Notes: Bouwmeester’s streak began March 6, 2004. … With only 11 healthy forwards available, D Brett Carson(notes) played right wing. … Calgary has recalled RW Ales Kotalik(notes) from Abbotsford (AHL). If he clears re-entry waivers on Wednesday, he’s expected to suit up for the Flames on Thursday night against Colorado. … In the final two weeks of the season, Phoenix and Calgary each play five games. The busiest teams among the pack of playoff contenders in the West are Chicago and Dallas, who each have eight games. … Phoenix improved to 28-2-2 when leading after two periods.