By Aaron Vickers | NHL.com Correspondent
CALGARY -- For the second consecutive game, Sven Baertschi, Jarome Iginla and Matt Stajan scored goals – in that order – to lead the Calgary Flames to a 4-2 win over the Coyotes at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday night.
The Flames (34-25-12) extended their winning streak to a season-high five games as they attempt to chase down a playoff position in the West.
The Coyotes (35-26-11) lost the game but remained in seventh place in the Western Conference standings with 10 games left on their schedule.
Once again, Phoenix fell behind early when Baertschi intercepted a Keith Yandle pass in front of the Coyotes net, went to his backhand and lifted the puck under the crossbar just 17 seconds after the opening faceoff to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
Baertschi, Calgary's top pick in last June's NHL Draft, has goals in three straight games.
Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett was less than pleased with his team's start.
"It certainly wasn't the way we wanted to start," Tippett said. "You give up a goal 20 seconds in on a bad turnover. You know you're going to have to come in here and play a real determined, real tight game and not give them anything unearned. It took 20 seconds to give them an unearned."
Iginla gave Calgary a 2-0 edge 5:16 into the second period. After sneaking behind the Coyotes defense and taking a 125-foot stretch pass from the Calgary end from Mark Giordano, Iginla broke in and let off a wrister that eluded the glove of Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith. Iginla extended his goal-scoring streak to six games.
Phoenix scored its goal with 2:23 left in the second period. After gaining the blue line, winger Ray Whitney cut towards the net before dishing a pass to Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who was able to beat Miikka Kiprusoff before he had a chance to reposition and cut Phoenix's deficit to 2-1.
Photo by Getty Images.
But Calgary answered back just 33 seconds later. Cory Sarich's centering pass went off the skate of Smith before ricocheting off Stajan's shin pad and into the back of the net, giving the Flames a 3-1 lead heading into the third period.
"The shift right after (we score), we turn over another one and it's in the back of our net," Tippett said. "We have to find a way to make these plays that are critical to the outcomes of games. You can't give opportunities away and that's what we're doing."
Whitney tried to cut the margin to one again just over a minute into the third, but he couldn't beat Kiprusoff after sneaking in alone on the Flames goaltender. It was one of 10 shots launched at Kiprusoff in the first five minutes of the final period.
Calgary sealed the win by scoring a shorthanded goal in the third period. (see KEY MOMENT below).
► EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave Vest of phoenixcoyotes.com edited this story and compiled this recap.
Leading 3-1 and with Sven Baertschi in the penalty box to serve a too-many-men bench minor, Alex Tanguay and Curtis Glencross combined for Calgary's third shorthanded goal of the season.
Glencross took a drop pass from Tanguay at the blue line, drew the defense and passed the puck back to Tanguay in front of the net. Tanguay faked Coyotes goalie Mike Smith before jamming the puck home with 5:04 remaining to ice the victory for the Flames.
► Click here to see the KEY MOMENT.
• Defenseman Derek Morris returned to the lineup after missing 15 games. Morris took a leave of absence last month because of a family ilness. Morris played 18:52, took two shots on goal, and was minus-2.
• Left wing Ray Whitney assisted on Phoenix's lone goal. It was the 992nd point of his NHL career.
• The Coyotes played without leading goal scorer Radim Vrbata, who was scratched for a second consecutive game because of an illness. Phoenix also played without injured forwards Martin Hanzal (upper-body) and Kyle Chipchura (upper-body). Both players are on this four-game trip and may return to action before it ends. Defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who suffered a lower-body injury in Wednesday's game at Vancouver, also did not play.
• Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored his 11th goal of the season. Only four other NHL defensemen have scored more than 11 goals this season. "I feel good out there," Ekman-Larsson said. "I play with some good players and I play more this year than what I did last year. I feel comfortable out there. I just try to play my game."
• The Coyotes' next game is Sunday vs. the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (Arizona time). The game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona Plus and can be heard on Money Radio 1510 (AM).
"This is desperation time. For us to come out and play a game like that is unacceptable for our group."
"We have to play as a team and from the get-go we weren't executing. You play a team like that, that's ready to go, it's going to hurt you."
"It's fun to be back in this playoff race and it's going to be interestingwith so many teams (in contention)."