In one of the best and most entertaining games of the year, the Flames came back from a 3-0 deficit at the start of the third period to beat the Coyotes 4-3 in the shootout. Jarome Iginla finally snapped his 10-game goalless streak in dramatic fashion, first wiring home an amazing shot from the left circle over Ilya Bryzgalov's shoulder with just 9 seconds left to tie the game, then eventually scoring the shootout winner with a rather uncharacteristic, but completely welcome, deke-to-backhand move. This was a HUGE win for the Flames, both for momentum and the standings. This was a game the Flames had to win, especially after the horrible shellacking in Edmonton last night. If they lost (combined with Nashville's 1-0 win over Carolina) they would have been out of a playoff position in 9th place and such a loss would come back to bite the Flames in the divisional race. As it stands with tonight's results, the Flames are now safely back in sixth, two points back of Minnesota in the Northwest. Phoenix remains a point out of the playoffs, with Colorado close behind the Flames by one point. Next up for the Flames is 14th-ranked Chicago on Thursday.
The game at first looked like a repeat of the Oilers game, with Phoenix's Peter Mueller scoring on a 3-on-1 just 23 seconds in. And despite Calgary outshooting the Coyotes 20-12 over the next 40 minutes, Mueller added two more goals to have Phoenix up 3-0 after two, just like the Edmonton game. The Flames were finally able to crack Ilya Bryzgalov in the third, with Dion Phaneuf being set up for a nice wrister on a quick power play by Alex Tanguay. Then with 6 minutes left, Dion somehow managed to sneak a slow slap shot that broke his stick in between Bryzgalov's pads. And for the second time this season, Iginla forced OT with less than 10 seconds left. The Flames had a few chances in OT but it was Miikka Kiprusoff who won the game for Calgary. After a near miss by Lombardi, Steve Reinprecht took it the other way for a clean cut breakaway but Kipper made a clutch pad save to save the game. Kipper then stopped all three shots on the shootout to close the huge win for the Flames.
My optimism is renewed in the Flames.
Notable scratches for the Flames were Rhett Warrener, Wayne Primeau and Eric Godard (evidently as punishment for his irrationality last night in Edmonton).