By Dave Vest
GLENDALE – Robert Lang and Lauri Korpikoski scored shootout goals, and Ilya Bryzgalov didn't allow any to lead the Coyotes to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night at Jobing.com Arena.
That was the good news for Phoenix. The bad news was that forward Scottie Upshall, the team's leading goal scorer, was injured late in the game and did not return (see KEY MOMENT below).
“It was a funny game, kind of a game with lots of hiccups, lots of penalties, not a lot of flow," Coyotes Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "… I was disappointed the way we started the game. I didn’t think we had the first period that we would have liked."
Tippett was hoping the Coyotes (31-18-5) would quickly pounce on the Flames, who lost their eighth straight game the night before in Dallas. But neither team scored in the first 20 minutes.
Keith Yandle and Shane Doan scored in the second period to give Phoenix a 2-0 lead. Yandle notched a power-play goal at 8:32 with a slap shot that trickled past Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. Doan sent a wrist shot past Kiprusoff from the left circle at 18:09.
Flames defenseman Mark Giordano showed off some fancy moves and stickwork late in the second period and beat Bryzgalov with a shot at 19:03 to give Calgary (26-20-8) some life heading into the second intermission.
Rookie Mikael Backlund, playing in just his third NHL game, later tied the score at 2 when he fired the puck past Bryzgalov from the top of the right circle at 8:15 of the third period.
"We got down 2-0 and we battled back to tie it up and got some quality scoring chances in the third," Head Coach Brent Sutter said of his Flames, who are 0-6-3 in their past nine games. "We just couldn't get that third goal, and when it goes to the shootout anything can happen."
But nothing happened for Calgary in the shootout as Backlund and former Coyotes center Olli Jokinen flicked no-so-challenging shots at Bryzgalov which he easily stopped.
Coyotes forward Scottie Upshall suffered what appeared to be a lower-body injury with 2:37 left in the third period. Upshall stumbled then crumbled to the ice in the Phoenix zone and had to be helped to the dressing room. The extent of his injury was not immediately revealed. Upshall leads the Coyotes with 18 goals. In no other NHL season has he scored that many goals. Upshall's injury is to be further examined on Friday.
• The Coyotes went 2-0-0 vs. Calgary at home this season. The last time Phoenix swept the Flames at home was in 2001-02.
• Forwards Robert Lang and Lauri Korpikoski are a combined 8 for 13 in shootouts. The rest of the Coyotes are a combined 5 for 24.
• Phoenix was awarded an unusual four-minute power play after Calgary's Cory Sarich was called for hooking twice within a few moments late in the first period. The Coyotes did not score while Sarich served the double penalty.
• The Coyotes lead the NHL in goals scored by defensemen (32).
• The Coyotes scratched Paul Bissonnette and Anders Eriksson. Calgary scratched Craig Conroy, Nigel Dawes and Aaron Johnson.
• Former Coyotes captain Teppo Numminen attended the game. The Coyotes will induct Numminen into the team's Ring of Honor on Saturday night before the game vs. the New York Rangers.
"We are ahead of the Detroits and the Calgarys and all of those teams, so we have to keep getting ahead... Any extra points are good points."
"Every point at this time of year is a big point… We need to get points out of these home games because we’re going on the road for quite a long time."
"I think we played a pretty strong third period, but they came back. We did get one (point) but we came here to win.”
• Nov. 25, 2009: CAL 2, PHX 1
• March 31, 2010:
• Dec. 3, 2009: PHX 2, CAL 1
• Jan. 28, 2010: PHX 3, CAL 2 (SO)
1 - 0 PHX
2 - 0 PHX
2 - 1 PHX