Thursday, January 23, 2014
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Flames edge Coyotes, break home losing streak

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[January 23, 2014]  CALGARY, Alberta  Finally the Calgary Flames reignited on home ice.

The Flames snapped their franchise-record home losing streak at seven games with a well-earned 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night.

"We needed that," said Flames center Matt Stajan, whose second-period tally was the difference. "We've been fighting it here on home ice, there's no secret to that."

Since last tasting victory at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the Flames celebrated Christmas and joined the world in ringing in the new year. During the skid, they were outscored 22-4 and were shut out four times.

Flames rookie center Sean Monahan gave his team an even more rare event this season when he opened the scoring. The last time the Flames scored first before their faithful came Dec. 12, the day Jay Feaster was relieved of his duties as general manager.

"That was important for us, to get the first one," Flames defenseman Mark Giordano said. "I thought we played a pretty aggressive game all night and they're a team that, they sort of like to sit back and counter-attack. When you get the lead on them, it's hard for them to do that."

Calgary left winger Lance Bouma doubled the lead with a breakaway tally just before the midway point and put the Coyotes in a familiar spot.

"We've been down lately, it seems, in a lot of games," said Coyotes right winger Shane Doan. "We've got to be better. We started the game and had control of it, playing the way we want to, but they get a fortunate bounce on one (goal). They get the next one and all of a sudden we're chasing a game we kind of had control of."

Center Antoine Vermette's second short-handed goal in as many outings put Phoenix on the board, but Stajan, who signed a four-year contract extension a couple of days earlier, restored Calgary's two-goal edge minutes later.

"Again, it was just a matter of staying aggressive," Giordano said. "We give them that short-handed one and those can be killer some nights but tonight, I thought we did a good job. We stayed aggressive and found a way to get that third one which was a huge goal."

Doan made it a one-goal game early in the final frame, but the Coyotes couldn't find the equalizer against goalie Karri Ramo, who made 30 saves while backstopping the Flames (17-27-7) to just their third win in 14 outings.

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"I think it takes a good game from everybody and if goaltending is leaking a lot, it's harder for our guys," said Ramo, who also collected an assist. "You need to be there to give confidence to the team. It's team work and I think we did really good."

Phoenix netminder Mike Smith stopped 23 shots. The Coyotes (23-18-9) have only three victories in their past 11 games, dropping them outside of a playoff spot.

"Lately we've been playing the way we want to a lot more. It's been better, but not good enough," Doan said.

"Look at our record. We've been average, if that, and we've got a lot better team than an average team."

"We had lots of try, but it seems like every time we make a mistake it ends up in our net," added Phoenix coach Dave Tippett. "We put another sixty-some attempts at net tonight and just don't get enough generated, enough finish, in there.

"We're at a state now when just playing hard doesn't get you wins. You've got to find ways to win."

NOTES: Flames LW Michael Cammalleri, who has been out of action for 10 days due to a concussion, is expected to begin skating in the next day or two in anticipation of returning to the lineup ... Coyotes C Martin Hanzal missed his second consecutive game due to an undisclosed injury. Hanzal took to the ice during the morning skate, but quickly left ... Phoenix G Mike Smith, who was named to Canada's Olympic team, said his family won't be going to Russia in part due to safety concerns in light of terrorist threats. "It's not worth it for myself thinking, 'Is she OK?' when I'm not with her. It's unfortunate, but it's the way it is," he said. His wife, Brigitte, is a two-time Olympian, having skied for Canada in 2006 and 2010 ... Flames C Paul Byron has the shot blocking protective guards many players are wearing these days to thank for him not being sidelined with a broken foot. Byron left Monday's game against the San Jose Sharks after being hit in the foot by a shot puck, but the result was just a painful bruise. "They don't take away the pain. They take away the injuries," Byron said.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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