The Five Takeaways: Flames vs. Coyotes
Five key elements from the Flames-Coyotes tilt
TAKEAWAY ONE: Winging it
Freddy Modin did take part in the Flames morning skate but conceded he was a game-time decision thanks to an upper body injury. It turned out that he wasn't well enough to play so the Flames dressed seven defencemen and used blueliner Brett Carson as a winger.
Carson was used sparingly, only playing 4:41. In his seven shifts, he had one missed shot.
TAKEAWAY TWO: Helping out at both ends
With the Coyotes cranking up the heat midway through the first period, Miikka Kiprusoff had to be on top of his game. Not only did he hold his team in when the shots were 7-1 in favour of the visitors, he managed to score his first point of the season after a magnificent save.
Veteran Ray Whitney was parked in front of the Flames net unattended and when the puck was dished off to him, he wasted no time in taking a close-range shot. Kiprusoff got himself over quickly and stopped the excellent scoring chance before throwing the puck over to Rene Bourque.
The winger carried the puck into the offensive zone before wiring it at the net. Olli Jokinen was there to pick up the rebound and deposit it into the back of the net. Kiprusoff earned the second assist on the play, getting his first point of the season.
TAKEAWAY THREE: First line duty
With David Moss sidelined indefinitely with an ankle malady, the Flames had to replace their pivot on the top line. It was speculated it would either be Mikael Backlund or Matt Stajan skating with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay and it was the youngster that got the call at game time.
Centering the top line after spending the majority of the season on the third and fourth line may seem like a big responsibility but Backlund handled the job admirably.
Overall, Backlund recorded a goal, a single shot, two hits and a 64 win percentage in the faceoff circle in his 18:09 of ice time.
TAKEAWAY FOUR: Scoring frenzy
After 40:00, the Coyotes were ahead by a score of 2-1. By the 10 minute mark of the period, four goals had been scored.
The Coyotes came out flying in the first five minutes. Keith Yandle banked a shot off Jay Bouwmeester to give the visitors a 3-1 advantage. Then, just 19 seconds later, Michal Rozsival sent a point shot through traffic that evaded Kiprusoff.
Instead of giving up, the Flames battled back. With Lauri Korpikovski in the sin bin for high sticking, Backlund scored his ninth of the season five seconds into the power play.
Alex Tanguay added Calgary's third goal with an incredible sharp angle shot that beat Ilya Bryzgalov high.
That was all the Flames could muster, however, and the equalizer could not be found in time to at least get a point out of the game.
TAKEAWAY FIVE: What the West looks like
The loss could have been catastrophic in terms of playoff implications but since the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators both lost in regulation, the Flames are still in the eighth and final playoff position.
Phoenix has widened the gap between themselves and the Flames by four points. They now sit in fifth with 85 points.
The Predators trail the Flames by a single point, making Thursday's tilt with Colorado crucial.