Sean Monahan continued his impressive rookie season Wednesday scoring his team-leading 14th goal as the Calgary Flames snapped their record seven-game home losing streak with a 3-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.
Monahan opened the scoring at 11:44 of the first period. It was the first time in nine home games Calgary had struck first. In fact, the Flames hadn’t held the lead in a home game going back to Dec. 12, the day general manager Jay Feaster was fired.
The goal was set up by a TJ Galiardi’s hustle. After winning a race to the puck deep in the Coyotes zone, Galiardi promptly zipped the puck in front where Monahan tapped it in behind goaltender Mike Smith, firing up the sell-out crowd of 19,289.
The goal moves Monahan, 19, ahead of Mike Cammalleri and Jiri Hudler into the team lead in goals. The sixth overall pick from last June’s NHL Draft is third in rookie goals behind Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (17) and San Jose’s Tomas Hertl (15).
Calgary never relinquished that lead thanks partly to Karri Ramo, who was especially sharp in the opening 20 minutes when Phoenix outshot the Flames 11-6 but trailed 1-0.
Lance Bouma and Matt Stajan also scored for Calgary (17-27-7), which scored more than two goals for just the second time in 14 games since Christmas. The Flames had been outscored 22-4 during its seven-game home losing streak.
Kicking off a five-game homestand, Calgary will try to make it two wins in a row Friday night against Nashville.
Antoine Vermette and Shane Doan scored for Phoenix (23-18-9), which has lost eight of its last 11. The Coyotes remain four points behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
Winless in its last five games away from home, Phoenix’s three-game road trip to Western Canada continues Friday night in Edmonton.
The Flames surged in front 2-0 at 8:48 of the second period on a perfectly executed fast break. Curling out from behind his own net, TJ Brodie threaded a long pass to Bouma at the Phoenix blue-line. In behind the Coyotes defence, Bouma darted in and snapped a perfect shot into the top corner.
Vermette cut the lead to 2-1 on a short-handed goal less than five minutes later, beating Ramo on a sizzling one-timer just inside the goal post after a set-up from Lauri Korpiskoski.
However, the Flames restored its two-goal cushion before the period ended when Stajan, fresh off signing a four-year contract extension two days ago, stepped into a slapshot and blasted a 40-footer past Smith.
Phoenix got back to within one when Doan snapped a shot past Ramo 6:50 into the third period but despite a couple dangerous chances in the waning seconds after pulling Smith for an extra attacker, they could not tie it.
Ramo finished with 30 stops to improve to 9-10-4.
Smith, who had 23 saves, falls to 17-15-8.
Notes: Flames LW Mike Cammalleri (concussion) missed his sixth game. Also not dressed for Calgary was LW Paul Byron (foot)... Missing for Phoenix was C Martin Hanzal (lower body), who missed his second game and D David Schlemko (upper body). Both are day-to-day... Calgary’s only two regulation wins in the last 21 home games have come against the Coyotes. They also beat Phoenix 4-1 on Dec. 4... After 48 games without one, the Coyotes have shorthanded goals in two consecutive games... With Henrik Sedin’s streak ending, Vermette (361) and D Keith Yandle (353) now have the third and fourth longest active iron-man streaks in the NHL.