Coyotes trim Flames in OT

Coyotes defenceman Adrian Aucoin knocks Flames forward Lance Bouma from the puck at Jobing.com...

Coyotes defenceman Adrian Aucoin knocks Flames forward Lance Bouma from the puck at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 9, 2012. (RICK SCUTERI/Reuters)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:59 AM ET

GLENDALE, ARIZ. - That elusive spot in the top eight was there for the taking.

The Calgary Flames once again couldn't grab hold of it.

With a chance to move into the Western Conference's top eight for the first time this season, the Flames dropped a 2-1 overtime game to the Phoenix Coyotes Thursday night.

While Mikael Backlund was in the penalty box for tripping, Blair Jones was rendered immobile after blocking a shot with his foot and Coyotes captain Shane Doan ripped a shot past rookie goalie Leland Irving for the winner before the Jobing.com Arena crowd of 10,048.

"I've blocked some shots and been stung before, but time went by and I couldn't take a stride," said Jones, who was slowly moving around after the game but didn't seem to be going for X-rays. "I was stranded and couldn't get over to Doan to get the shot lane.

"I knew what was going to happen. I could see it developing."

The Flames haven't been in a playoff position since late last season, when they held eighth spot on March 18, 2011 after 73 games.

They're two points back of the Coyotes for the No.-8 slot, in a three-way tie with Minnesota and Dallas for ninth after finishing a three game road swing with one win and a pair of extra-time losses.

"You go on the road and get four points out of six and can look at it and say you had a decent trip. We closed the gap a little bit," said coach Brent Sutter. "You have to find ways to get two points in some of these game, but we will take four out of six points on this trip."

That said, there was plenty of anger among the Flames, too.

Sutter was happy his team earned a point -- on a night passing whiz Alex Tanguay only played about half the game after taking a puck to the face -- but was upset about Backlund's penalty which led to the winning goal.

"It's a point you could have had that you let get away. The positive is we did get a point, found a way to come back on the road in the third game in four nights, but you don't like giving up points like that," Sutter said. "I was proud of the guys for battling back and getting that goal in the third period and getting it into overtime, but I wasn't happy in the fact we took a penalty 200 feet from our net. That's a killer."

Backlund didn't shy away from responsibility.

"I didn't mean to take a penalty. It's frustrating," he said. "I hate letting the team down like that."

In turn, Backlund was seething at Coyotes defenceman Keith Yandle, who gave him a sucker punch when he figured a skirmish was over.

"I didn't want to fight him, just wanted to frustrate him a bit, he's their best defenceman and the best player," Backlund said. "I let him go when the refs came in and he gave me a (expletive) cheapshot."

Taylor Pyatt opened the scoring for the hosts in the opening period, but Olli Jokinen's third-period tally, his fifth goal in three games, forced overtime.

Irving stopped 34 shots in his fifth NHL start, and now has a 1-1-3 record.

The Flames return home to face the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night, the finale of the Hockey Day in Canadafun.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak


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