By Jerry Brown | NHL.com Correspondent
GLENDALE -- Even when they were red-hot, the Coyotes spent a lot of time playing with fire.
On Thursday night, they finally got burned.
The slumping Calgary Flames made the Coyotes pay for their string of bad first periods, scoring three times on the way to a 4-2 victory at Jobing.com Arena that ended Phoenix's 11-0-1 run.
Mike Cammalleri, Curtis Glencross and Olli Jokinen scored in the first 17:23 of the game and the Flames, who remain in 11th place in the Western Conference with 69 points, snapped a four-game winless streak (0-2-2).
Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves as the Flames snapped a six-game losing streak against Phoenix dating to March 31, 2010.
Raffi Torres and Michal Rozsival scored goals early in the second period for the Coyotes (33-22-9). But Phoenix couldn't get any closer – Ray Whitney was stoned by Kiprusoff on a breakaway later in the period and defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson hit a post behind Kiprusoff with 13 minutes left in regulation.
The Coyotes were 11-0-1 in February, but ended the month with a string of poor first periods – falling behind 3-0 to Los Angeles (Feb. 21), 2-0 to the Flames in Calgary last Thursday and 1-0 to Vancouver on Tuesday.
Phoenix managed to rally to win all three games in shootouts, but couldn't make it up the mountain this time, starting March with their first regulation defeat since a 4-1 home loss to Anaheim on Jan. 31. The Coyotes were able to keep their two-point lead in the Pacific Division when San Jose lost 1-0 at home to Buffalo Thursday.
"We've been coming from behind too many times," Coyotes captain Shane Doan said. "If you do that too much you're going to get burned and tonight, that first period was about as bad as we've been in a while and it cost us. We couldn't come back from it."
Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith came into the game with 11 straight wins, a span in which he allowed just 16 goals. But the Coyotes dug a huge first-period hole with sloppy play and a flurry of turnovers that the desperate Flames were happy to pounce upon.
It started when Ekman-Larsson's lazy pass in his own zone was redirected by Iginla. Calgary's captain found Alex Tanguay, who set up Cammalleri for a one-timer that Smith never saw at 14:09. But the Flames were just getting started.
With TJ Brodie in the penalty box for hooking – one of four penalties Calgary took in the first 20 minutes – Glencross beat Whitney down the wall and fired a shot from a sharp angle right before the goal line that somehow squeezed between Smith's flexed knee and the post at 16:00. It was Glencross' 20th and only the second shorthanded goal by this Flames this season.
Photo by Norm Hall.
Calgary (29-24-11) came within three seconds of getting another shortie on the same penalty kill. As Brodie was exiting the box, Rozsival surprised defense partner Keith Yandle with a drop pass in his own zone. Yandle lost the handle and Jokinen swooped in to grab the puck and lift it over Smith for his 20th goal and the Flames had a 3-0 cushion.
But as they did during their month-long string of wins, the Coyotes regrouped and got back into the game quickly with a dominant second period.
Taking advantage of a carry-over penalty to start the second period, Torres parked himself in front of the net and tipped home Yandle's one-timer from the point at 1:27 to start a rally. Just 2:21 later, Coyotes forwards Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal forced a Tanguay turnover and Rozsival jumped up into the slot to one-time a shot under the crossbar for his first goal since last March 24 to pull his team within a goal.
But Kiprusoff slammed the door from there, denying Whitney on a breakaway (see KEY MOMENT below) and again from close range with his mask before catching a break when Ekman-Larsson's shot found iron in the third.
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
Trailing 3-2, Coyotes winger Ray Whitney took a long stretch pass from defenseman Keith Yandle and skated at Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff on a breakaway. Whitney made several moves but Kiprusoff stopped his shot with a pad at 7:24 of the second period.
► Click here to see the KEY MOMENT.
• Goalie Mike Smith stopped 27 of 30 shots but his franchise-record/career-high winning streak ended at 11 games. Before the game, the NHL named Smith its No. 1 Star for February based on his 11-0-0 record for the month. Click here to read more.
• Forward Ray Whitney did not notch a point, ending his point streak at six games.
• Defenseman Michal Rozsival scored his first goal of the season at 3:48 of the second period. He also took four shots on goal and blocked two shots.
• The Coyotes won 62 percent of the faceoffs. Center Martin Hanzal led the way by winning 18 of 24 draws.
• Defenseman Keith Yandle logged 30:46 of ice time. That's the most he's played this season other than the season opener when he played 31:04.
• The Coyotes played minus injured forwards Kyle Chipchura (upper-body) and Gilbert Brule (upper-body), and injured defensemen Rostislav Klesla (upper-body) and David Schlemko (lower-body). The Coyotes also played minus defenseman Derek Morris, who has taken a leave of absence because of a family illness.
• The Coyotes' next game is Saturday vs. the Columbus Blue Jackets at Jobing.com Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and can be heard on XTRA Sports 910 (AM).
"We gave them three goals. When you do that it's tough... I thought we picked it up and we got going and we took the game back, but (Miikka) Kiprusoff made a couple of big saves in the second period to keep it at 3 to 2."
"We pushed back a little bit, but ultimately when you don't deserve to win you usually don't win. We passed (the puck) to the other team instead of ours... They came in and were going to compete hard, and we just didn't put the work in to push back."
"We were definitely desperate... We know what's at stake and played a complete game. The guys competed hard and in the third period, when it counted, we applied good pressure."