Jankowski scores twice, Smith earns shutout as Flames blank Coyotes
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CALGARY — Mike Smith says he'll forever be indebted to the Arizona Coyotes organization. But that didn't take away from the satisfaction of shutting them out.
Smith stopped all 28 shots he faced and rookie Mark Jankowski scored twice as the Calgary Flames blanked Arizona 3-0 on Thursday night.
"They took a chance on me when I was bumping around there and really hadn't found my way yet. I became a No. 1 goalie there in Arizona," said Smith, who after six years with the Coyotes was acquired by the Flames last June in a trade.
"I owe a lot to them, but obviously it feels good to beat them. The shutout's a bonus, but the way we beat them was a lot more rewarding for me."
It's the second shutout of the season and 35th of Smith's career.
"Make no mistake. About the eight-minute mark of that (third) period and after it was 3-0, that bench knew what they were fighting for the rest of the way," said Flames coach Glen Gulutzan, who called it his team's most complete effort of the season.
"Nobody says it, that's just the way it is. But they all knew and you could tell by the way that they played, they weren't going to give up the next one."
Mikael Backlund also scored for Calgary (14-10-1). The Flames bounced back after opening their four-game homestand with a 4-1 loss to Toronto on Tuesday.
Scott Wedgewood made 41 saves for the Coyotes (6-18-4).
Jankowski opened the scoring 2:48 into the second by showing an elite set of hands.
Set up in front on a slick tic-tac-toe passing sequence with linemates Sam Bennett and Jaromir Jagr, Jankowski was stopped on his first try, but put his stick between his legs to zip the rebound over Wedgewood's glove.
"I was just skating by and with my momentum, my only real play was to go through the legs — just a reaction thing — and luckily it went in," said Jankowski.
Calgary extended its lead to 2-0 at 10:19 of the third when Matthew Tkachuk neatly set up Backlund in front.
Jankowski added his second of the night less than two minutes later. Right off a faceoff, he went to the net and scored on a nifty forehand-to-backhand deke.
With five goals in 17 games, Gulutzan was asked if Jankowski would stay with the team for good after beginning the season in the AHL.
"We like to keep him hungry so we're going let him stay in the hotel for a little while," said Gulutzan with a chuckle. "I've watched enough young players, I don't see him going anywhere."
Smith improved to 11-8-1. Wedgewood, making his fourth straight start with Raanta (upper body) sidelined, fell to 2-4-2.
The Coyotes had gone 3-0-1 in their previous four road games. Included was an overtime loss on Tuesday in Edmonton.
"We were out of gas. You could tell," said Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet. "We looked like a tired hockey team. It's a lesson learned. Some guys can't give. If you're tired, you have to play a little bit smarter."
Both teams are back in action on Saturday with Calgary hosting Edmonton and Arizona returning home to play the New Jersey Devils.
Notes: Tkachuk played in career game No. 100. The 19-year-old is the second-youngest player to get to 100 games in franchise history, behind only Dan Quinn... Jagr (lower body) returned after missing one game... Garnet Hathaway, just recalled from Stockton (AHL) got into his first game since the season-opener... Coyotes were without Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body), who was injured Tuesday in Edmonton.