GLENDALE, Ariz. – To win the division, you need to win on the road.
That’s what Calgary assistant coach Jim Playfair said after the Flames outscored the Phoenix Coyotes 7-5 on Saturday night. With the victory, Northwest Division-leading Calgary ended a three-game trip with five out of six points. Phoenix lost for the eighth time in its last nine games.
Matthew Lomabardi had his first two-goal game of the season and second multi-point game in his last four. He had a goal and two assists against Montreal on Monday night.
“This was a good trip for us. Getting two points on the road in any game at this time of the year is critical,” said Playfair, who spoke to the media in place of coach Mike Keenan.
Adrian Aucoin, Daymond Langkow, Cory Sarich, Curtis Glencross and Eric Nystrom also scored for Calgary, and Todd Bertuzzi had four assists. Daniel Winnik and Viktor Tikhonov each had two goals for Phoenix, and Shane Doan also scored.
“We did a good job of sticking to our game plan,” said defenceman Sarich, who also had two assists. “We wanted to get the puck in deep and take advantage of defensive mistakes.”
An early Phoenix lead was quickly erased when the Flames scored five of the game’s next six goals.
The Phoenix power play, tied for 28th in the NHL, clicked with the man advantage midway through the first period. Winnik tipped in Zbynek Michalek’s shot from the right point for his first of the season at 8:23 of the opening session.
“In the first period, we played very well, and did many good things,” Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky said. “But one period doesn’t win a hockey game and that was the difference.”
Then, the Flames took control.
Aucoin tied it six minutes later, firing a slapshot from the top of the right face circle that beat Ilya Bryzgalov at 14:21.
The Flames took the lead with two goals in less 2 1/2 minutes in the middle period.
First, Langkow’s 17th of the season at 7:21 of the season put Calgary up by one. Langkow scored when his slapshot from 30 feet eluded Bryzgalov. Then, Sarich’s wrist shot from the blue-line sailed over Bryzgalov’s glove at 9:47.
The Coyotes responded less than three minutes later on Winnik’s second goal.
Lombardi then increased the Flames’ lead to two less than a minute later when he knocked in his own rebound at 12:52.
Curtis Glencross upped the margin by three when he converted a 2-on-none in front of Bryzgalov, short-handed, at 19:46.
In the final period, Doan scored his 22nd of the season at 5:17, and Tikhonov added a pair late in the session. Earlier in the third period, the Flames’ Eric Nystrom extended the lead to 7-3 with his third of the season.
“Down the stretch, we have to get as many points as possible,” Flames defenceman Dian Phanuef said. “Did we have a few lulls in this games? Yes, but the bottom line is that we won the hockey game, and now move forward.”
Notes: Bryzgalov allowed seven goals in a game for the second time in a week. He surrendered that amount in a 7-2 loss to Carolina at home Feb. 7. … The Coyotes had 20 shots in the first period, their most in a period this season. … Bryzgalov started his 16th straight game, the longest streak of his NHL career. … Peter Mueller returned the Phoenix lineup after missing seven games.