GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — When Mike Ribeiro first arrived in Phoenix, he wasn't sure how he would fit in, on the ice and in the locker room. Having the added honus of being the scoring savior on a team that's needed one for a decade didn't help much.
Once Ribeiro found his comfort level with his new teammates and role on his new team, the points started flowing — and haven't stopped since.
Ribeiro scored two goals for the second straight game and extended his points streak to seven games, lifting the Coyotes to a 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames Tuesday night.
"It took a while for me to get comfortable with the guys and for them to know me and, I guess to like me," Ribeiro said. "So now that we did that, I'm comfortable and it's fun to come to work."
Ribeiro had a quiet start in the desert after signing a four-year, $22 million contract, failing to register a point his first three games.
Realizing he had been thinking too much instead of reacting, Ribeiro shifted his game into a new, freewheeling gear, starting with an assist in Phoenix's 3-0 win over Detroit on Oct. 10 that kick-started what had been an awful start to a five-game road trip.
Ribeiro hasn't stopped scoring since, notching two goals against the Red Wings in Phoenix's comeback victory on Saturday and two more against Calgary, including the game-winner just a few minutes after the Flames tied it in the third period.
Rob Klinkhammer added an empty-net goal for Phoenix, which has earned 12 of a possible 14 points in its past seven games. The Coyotes, with 14 points (6-2-2), are off to their best start since opening the 2000-01 season 7-1-2.
"He likes to make a difference in games and he's doing that for us right now," Coyotes coach Dave Tippett said.
The Coyotes needed Ribeiro's big night after a couple of defensive miscues allowed the Flames back into a game they had been dominated in for most of the first two periods.
Sluggish after facing Los Angeles the night before, Calgary fell behind 2-0 in the second period after Radim Vrbata's 200th career goal and Ribeiro's first of the night.
The Flames finally found some life late in the second, using a turnover to set up Lee Stempniak's goal in the second period and another that led to Joe Colborne's breakaway goal early in the third.
Calgary couldn't sustain it, though, unable to get anything past Mike Smith the rest of the third period to lose for the third time during a five-game road trip that ends at Dallas on Thursday.
Continue reading this story on the...