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Flames Use Big 1st Period to Take Down Coyotes

Two teams with a developing rivalry duked it out on the last night of 2016

Arizona Coyotes v Calgary Flames Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

Happy New Year Everyone! It’s probably already a happy one for Flames fans out there after tonight’s win.

As if 2016 wasn’t already a strange enough year, we saw Lance Bouma and Dennis Wideman both score in tonight’s 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

The Flames entered the game coming off a tough 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks while the Coyotes entered on a six game losing streak with their most recent defeat being 6-3 at the hands of the Rangers.

Dougie Hamilton returned to the ice for the Flames after missing the Ducks game with an illness, while Brian Elliott got the start in net for the Flames. Louis Domingue countered for Arizona.

The Flames jumped up on the Coyotes 1-0 early in the first period as the powerplay went to work with Michael Frolik burying a shot from the slot after inadvertently blocking a Matthew Tkachuk shot. It was Frolik’s first goal in 20 games and also extended Tkachuk’s point streak. Hamilton also gets an assist in his return.

Minutes later it would look as though the Coyotes tied the game with Martin Hanzal deflecting a point shot into the net, but it was immediately waved off on the ice and upon further review it was confirmed to be a high stick, so no goal Mr. Martin.

Dennis Wideman would put the Flames up `2-0 when one of his point shots actually hit the net (we’re shocked too) as the puck made its way through the maze of players.

Only 29 seconds later Lance Bouma would score by shooting a puck from the corner that deflected off a falling Coyote and into the net. But hey, when you’re Lance Bouma, you’ll take em any way you can, and so will the Flames. 3-0 Calgary.

To cap off a wild opening period, Mikael Backlund would stay red hot deflecting a point shot from Mark Giordano into the net for his 8th point in 4 games. This was also a powerplay goal as everything was clicking early.

The first period ends with the Flames way ahead 4-0 despite shots being only 9-9.

Brandon Perlini would make it 4-1 late in the second period after being left alone in front of Brian Elliott who really didn’t stand much of a chance. The Coyotes controlled a majority of the second period but that’s to be expected as the Flames tried to protect their lead. Shots for the period were 16-6 for Arizona.

Martin Hanzal would cut the deficit to 4-2 midway through the third period by deflecting a point shot past Elliott, legally this time of course. Whether or not it was on purpose or by accident, hats off to Hanzal for one of the best deflections I’ve ever seen. Elliot had absolutely no chance of making that save on such an expert redirection.

Despite the goal, the Flames managed to limit Arizona to only 4 third period shots as the Flames end 2016 with a 4-2 victory and up their record to 20-17-2 in the process.

The win marks the Flames fourth victory in four attempts over Arizona this season, and also the fourth time the Flames have doubled up the Coyotes (2-1, 2-1, 4-2, 4-2).

Flame of the Game

Lance Bouma - As some may or may not know, I’m not a fan of Bouma but I have to acknowledge a stellar game when I see it and Bouma had that tonight as he was flying all over the ice. He finished the game with a team high 5 shots on net and was rewarded with a goal, no matter how fluky it was. More of this Lance Bouma, and I could become a bigger fan of him.

The Flames now have a few off days before returning to action on January 4th when they host the league-worst Colorado Avalanche at the Dome.