GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Coyotes lost their first home game of the season Saturday night, a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Flames at Jobing.com Arena.
Todd Fedoruk scored his first goal for Phoenix (3-4-0), but it wasn’t enough as Jarome Iginla had a goal and two assists for the Flames (4-3-1). Todd Bertuzzi, Brandon Prust and Dion Phaneuf also scored for Calgary.
Coyotes Head Coach Wayne Gretzky spent Friday and Saturday telling his players to be ready for intense competition from the suddenly-hot Flames, but his warnings didn’t work.
“Unfortunately, we only had a handful of guys that were ready for that sort of work-ethic type game,” Gretzky said. “They did exactly what we thought they were going to do.”
Backup goaltender Mikael Tellqvist made his second consecutive start and was solid again making 32 saves on 35 shots.
“The (final) score was flattering for us,” Gretzky said.
With ghosts and goblins still about a week away, it was surprising that a few fluky occurrences happened inside Jobing.com Arena.
The Flames got their first goal on their first power play when Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek inadvertently knocked the puck into the Phoenix goal after it deflected off one of Bertuzzi’s skates. Bertuzzi was credited with the goal 3:25 into the first period and that set the tone for the rest of the game.
The Flames were on that power play because Coyotes forward Daniel Carcillo was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after his first fight of the season against Mark Giordano. Carcillo fought Giordano because Giordano knocked Coyotes forward Peter Mueller to the ice with a hard check along the boards.
“I felt like Danny’s call was border line,” Gretzky said. “He did the right thing in defending his teammate, and those are the penalties that you need to kill.”
Calgary added to its lead later in the first period after Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris lost his footing along the blue line and coughed up the puck. The giveaway led to a two-on-one rush the other way, and Flames forward Wayne Primeau fed Prust skating down the right side. Prust shot the puck past Tellqvist for his first NHL goal at 15:03.
“We weren’t ready and you have to be ready every night,” Fedoruk said. “As a group, you have to be focused and ready to go. In the first 10 minutes, it was kind of a feeling-out process instead of initiating. We are better when we initiate and control the game.”
The Coyotes responded late in the first period off another fluky play.
After a collision between Fedoruk and Calgary’s Dustin Boyd that leveled both players, Fedoruk eventually got up, made his way to the front of the net and received a pass from Shane Doan that he finished with 1:02 remaining in the first period.
“He stayed down, I got up and went to the net,” said Fedoruk, who was signed in the offseason from the Minnesota Wild.
The Coyotes had several chances to get back into the game but couldn’t get the puck past Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff again. Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal had a semi-breakaway in the second period, but he was denied by a nice leg-pad save by Kiprusoff.
Calgary scored its third goal in the second period when a shot by Phaneuf deflected off Tellqvist's upper body, bounced off the crossbar, then dropped to the ice where Phaneuf put it away for his first goal of the season. Iginla added an empty-net goal with three seconds left in the game.
The Coyotes return to action Thursday night when they take on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Jobing.com Arena.