CALGARY – The bounces have been going the Calgary Flames’ way so far his pre-season, which is good news for an offence that has struggled to score in the past.
The Flames took advantage of a couple fortunate goals to beat the Phoenix Coyotes 3-1 in NHL pre-season action on Tuesday night.
Calgary opened the scoring when Jarome Iginla scored his second goal of the pre-season just 17 seconds into the game. Olli Jokinen, who later left the game due to injury, took the initial shot on net that Jason LaBarbera stopped easily, but Iginla swatted the rebound across the goal-line before the Phoenix goalie could cover up the puck.
“They got a bit of a lucky bounce where the guy takes a shot and it gets away,”said Coyotes captain Shane Doan, who scored the lone goal for Phoenix (4-2).“To give that one that early it gives them energy and it gives them some emotion. You try to get back into it, but it wasn’t a very good game for us for the whole 60 minutes. We weren’t very good.”
Niklas Hagman scored the eventual winner for the Flames (4-0) in the second period and set up rookie T.J. Brodie for an insurance marker in the third.
Brodie blasted a point shot that appeared to go into the net just over Labarbera’s right pad, but subsequent replays showed the puck didn’t go straight in. The NHL doesn’t review goals during exhibition games
“The third goal they got went through the side of the net, so that’s one of the things to deal with right now,”said Phoenix coach Dave Tippett.“I’m more worried about how we played. Our goaltender played fine, but we need to raise our compete level. They played a hard game and we didn’t play as hard as them, simple as that.”
It was Brodie’s his third goal in the past two games.
“The bounces have been going the right way, like tonight on the goal,”said the 20-year-old defenceman, whose parents made the trek out from Ontario to watch the contest.“I didn’t really pay attention at first. I was pretty excited. Irv (backup goaltender Leland Irving) told me on the bench it looked like it went in the side of the net.
“During the season, that wouldn’t happen because of video replay.”
Goalie Henrik Karlsson, who the Flames acquired from the San Jose Sharks in the off-season, made 19 saves to pick up his second win of the pre-season.
“It was really, really nice to be out there out on the ice and play for the home fans for the first time,”said Karlsson, who admitted to being“a little bit nervous before the game.”
LaBarbera stopped 24 of 27 shots he faced.
While the Flames had some lucky bounces during the game, they continue to be unlucky on the injury front. Jokinen left after playing just three shifts to start the second period. He will be evaluated further before the Flames provide an injury update on Wednesday
“He’ll be fine,”said Calgary coach Brent Sutter.“We’re just making sure. It’s nothing significant at all.
The Flames are also currently without centres Daymond Langkow (neck) and Matt Stajan (shoulder) for indefinite time periods.
After Iginla’s quick goal, the Coyotes then tied it up five minutes later when Doan scored his team-leading third goal of the pre-season. Linemate Wojtek Wolski intercepted Jay Bouwmeester’s failed clearing attempt and sent a pass into the slot, where Doan wristed it into the top corner.
At the other end of the ice, LaBarbera made a pair of blocker saves on shots by Jokinen and Mikael Backlund before standing his ground to turn aside another scoring chance by Iginla.
Hagman put the Flames up 2-1 early in the second period when he wired a heavy shot into the top corner over LaBarbera’s outstretched glove hand.
Notes: The Flames assigned defenceman Gord Baldwin to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League and now have three goalies, 10 defencemen and 21 forwards remaining on their training-camp roster.…Next up, the Flames will play the New York Islanders on Wednesday night at Saskatoon’s Credit Union Centre, while the Coyotes will travel to Edmonton to face the Oilers at RexallPlace.…The Coyotes will round out their exhibition schedule with a game against Dinamo Riga in Riga, Latvia on Oct. 6.