March 15 2014 10:45PM
Via the NHL
The Flames were hoping for a second straight 2-goal comeback (and third straight win) tonight in Phoenix, and they almost had it. Unfortunately, a mess of penalties in the third would ultimately sink the Flames and allow the Coyotes to come away with a 3-2 win in regulation.
Early on, the game seemed like it might get out of hand - the Coyotes would put two goals by rookie Joni Ortio before we even hit the second commercial break. An amazing series of defensive lapses (Colborne and Russell, I'm looking at you) would lead to the first goal, as Chris Summers would open the scoring with his first NHL goal, redirecting a Lauri Korpikoski feed. Rob Klinkhammer scored about 4 minutes after, and while you couldn't blame the first goal on Ortio, the second was probably on him. Keith Yandle made a pretty damn nice pass to set it up.
Then, as if things couldn't go any worse - Mike "Buttgoal" Smith insidiously (and with malice of forethought) injured everyone's favorite player™, Mikael Backlund. (He would return.) There was a period of time about 5 minutes long right after the Yotes tallied their second where the Flames were just brutually hemmed into their zone. Hrudey mentioned it on the broadcast and I agreed - right off the bat the Flames looked like they were tired - likely a function of them having played last night. Shots in the period were 11-8 for the Coyotes.
After spotting the Yotes two goals, the Flames decided it was about time to get into it. About 4 minutes into the second, Mark Giordano destroyed Korpikoski as he was coming across the blue line (good!), but as he went to the bench he tripped Radim Vrbata pretty obviously. The Yotes took a point-shot heavy approach on the insuing powerplay, with both Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larrsson ringing it off the iron over the course of the two minutes. Mike Smith did what Mike Smith does by losing the puck behind the net and it resulted in Lance Bouma drawing a penalty against Derek Morris. This was significant for a pretty obvious reason: Mike Cammalleri bombed a clapper from the blue and Curtis Glencross used his BIG BODY PRESENCE in front of the net to score his 7th of the season on the PP and his first since injuring his ankle 31 games ago. Glencross and Bouma would team up again to create a great chance in front, but Smith would match one of Ortio's great saves from earlier in the period with one of his own. An absurd amount of penalties were called in this period (9 minors!), but that was bloody good for the Flames as our boy Mickis would deflect another Cammalleri drive past Smith on the PP to send the game to the third tied. Shot totals in the second reflected how the game went - the Flames took the play to the Coyotes, outshooting them 18-6 in the frame. Yeah.
The third started well. Lance Bouma took a nasty shot to the thigh - right in the area in between the shin pad and pant. You know, THAT one. Then somehow Paul Byron forgot he's 4'2" and took a boarding penalty, where Shane Doan had the best Coyotes chance, hitting yet another post. Ortio was probably beaten... 5 or 6 times this game but only allowed somehow. Unfortunately, all of those penalties against the Flames would eventually come back to haunt them, as Shane Doan (*spits*) had a puck go off his stupid stick and past Ortio to put Phoenix up 3-2. Some words were then said between Hartley and the ref, and then Backlund cross-checked Outlet Halpern at the faceoff circle. The end result of all of that action? A Phoenix goal and another Coyotes PP. (Ortio was tested a lot in this period, and performed pretty well overall I think.) Backlund then got called again (6 fucking minors in the period, somehow) but once again - Ortio was up to the task. Unfortunately, the Flames couldn't generate another goal (probably due to the refs having the whistles stuck in their mouths) and the Coyotes would close it out.
Why The Flames Lost
Not all of them were good calls - but don't put the game in the hands of the referee.
Joni Ortio's second goal against wasn't pretty, but...
Well we all get one, Joni— The Book Of Loob (@bookofloob) March 16, 2014
The kid had to deal with an absolutely absurd 10 minor penalties called against the Flames tonight. I don't care who you are, that amount of action is going to destroy you and your stamina. He battled hard.
Sum it Up
Probably the most fun I've had watching a Flames-Coyotes game in quite a while. I'm not sure what the deal was with the officiating - some of the calls were, uh, questionable - but the fact is the Coyotes outplayed the Flames in the first and that was the difference. Even with all of the penalties, they hung around in the third. This was definitely one of those "rebuild" losses.
We'll have a scoring chance dump up on tuesday.