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Coyotes snatch important victory away from Calgary in a Shootout
A large opportunity for the Calgary Flames Thursday night fell to the wayside as the visiting Phoenix Coyotes stormed back from an early 2-0 deficit to temporarily halt the push for a playoff spot here in cowtown. Whether it is the complete lack of intensity or the unwillingness to compete on a shift to shift basis, the Calgary Flames as a whole are still finding ways to fold under pressure in the most crucial stretches of a season.
Calgary - February 24, 2012 - A large opportunity for the Calgary Flames Thursday night fell to the wayside as the visiting Phoenix Coyotes stormed back from an early 2-0 deficit to temporarily halt the push for a playoff spot here in cowtown. Whether it is the complete lack of intensity or the unwillingness to compete on a shift to shift basis, the Calgary Flames as a whole are still finding ways to fold under pressure in the most crucial stretches of a season.
A very strong opening period of play by the Calgary Flames saw them jump out to an impressive 2-0 lead. Although the two goals that were scored may not have been the prettiest, they came as a direct result of hard work and pressure in all three zones. Alex Tanguay would score his 8th goal of the year at the 8:35 mark of the first when he intercepted a clearing attempt by goaltender Mike Smith and attempted to make a cross ice pass that would deflect off of a Coyote’s defender and slide into the open cage. Tanguay would not be finished there however as just minutes later he would find Matt Stajan streaking into the slot as he wristed home just his second goal of the season off of the post and in, to put the Flames up by a pair of goals heading into the second period.
Everything would change from that moment on however as the Phoenix Coyotes showed an unmatched compete level that would smother the lifeless play of the Calgary Flames. The Coyotes would go on to score consecutive goals in the second period thanks in large part to former Flame Daymond Langkow and Phoenix captain Shane Doan. An assumed stern lashing by head coach Brent Sutter in the second intermission would really do nothing for the Flames in terms of turning the momentum around in this game as the Coyotes continued to look like the more determined team in the third period. An unfortunate misplay by Flames veteran defensemen Scott Hannan would all but gift wrap Ray Whitney his 17th goal of the season midway through the third period would give the Coyotes there first lead of the night.
It took three straight goals against and a rather boneheaded penalty by Phoenix forward Radim Vrbata to get the Flames back into the game in the dying moments of the third period. With just under two minutes remaining on the game clock, Olli Jokinen would tally his 19th goal of the season on the power play to give the Flames an opportunity to win a game in which they really had no business being apart of. For the second straight game between these two clubs, this game would be heading for extra time. Usually four on four play in overtime would create more scoring chances and shots on goal but that would not be the case on this night as just one shot net was recorded by both teams during the extra five minutes of play, and neither team looked overly dangerous. The ageless Ray Whitney would score the lone goal in the shootout to propel the Coyotes to victory while sending the hometown fans packing on a sour note. With the overtime loss Calgary now sits in a three way tie for 8th place in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Kings and Dallas Stars. To make things worse the Los Angeles Kings announced on this day that they have acquired the services of former forty goal scorer Jeff Carter in a trade that saw Jack Johnson head to Ohio. In other news, during the second intermission of tonight’s game General Manager Jay Feaster clearly stated his frustrations with the play of his team during an interview in which he stated that we could potentially see some roster changes take place before the NHL trade deadline on Monday. He made a direct reference to the veteran players of the team who in his mind are not pulling there weight as of yet. Expect likely trade candidates to include Cory Sarich, Scott Hannan, and potentially Olli Jokinen.
Olli Jokinen - Miss
Ray Whitney - Goal
Alex Tanguay - Save
Radim Vrbata - Miss
Jarome Iginla - Save
Game Day Notes
- Curtis Glencross returned to game action after missing 16 games due to a lower body injury.
- Derek Smith returned to game action after missing 24 games due to a lower body injury.
- Krys Kolanos was forced to leave the game in the second period with an apparent lower body injury.
- Chris Butler will miss up to three weeks due to a lacerated thigh that required 30 stitches. The injury occurred Tuesday night in a collision with goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
- Paul Byron has been reassigned to Abbotsford of the AHL. (Expect him to now be recalled due to the injury suffered by forward Krys Kolanos)
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