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Tkachuk gets 1st goal in hometown, leads Flames over Blues

December 17, 2018
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Calgary Flames' Matthew Tkachuk, second from right, is congratulated by teammates after scoring past St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen, left, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Calgary Flames' Matthew Tkachuk, second from right, is congratulated by teammates after scoring past St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen, left, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Matthew Tkachuk spent his childhood dreaming of scoring an NHL goal in his hometown.

It became reality Sunday.

Tkachuk got his first goal in the city where his dad was a star, Johnny Gaudreau and Alan Quine each scored twice, and the Calgary Flames beat the St. Louis Blues 7-2.

Tkachuk grew up in St. Louis while his father, Keith Tkachuk, totaled 208 goals over nine seasons with the Blues. A large contingent of Tkachuk’s friends and family attended the game Sunday, including his mother, Chantal.

“Getting one here is something I’ve always envisioned,” Tkachuk said. “A million times, I’ve pictured it. And to have it happen like this, it was definitely something I will never forget.

“Now that I got it, it felt great and I don’t have to worry about it anymore,” he added.

Tkachuk came into the game with six assists in six career games against St. Louis.

“He grew up in this building in essence and it was good for him to get us on the board and play real well today,” Calgary coach Bill Peters said.

Tkachuk scored the winning goal in a 2-1 triumph over Minnesota on Saturday. The 21-year-old became an alternate captain for Calgary this year and has played a key role in propelling the Flames to the top of the Western Conference standings.

“He’s one of our best players, night-in, night-out,” longtime captain Mark Giordano said. “He got us going today.”

Calgary has won eight of nine and leads the West with 46 points. Elias Lindholm and Giordano also scored, and goalie David Rittich made 26 saves.

Calgary, which is 12-2-1 in its last 15, scored four times on its first 15 shots in the opening period.

Oskar Sundqvist and Tyler Bozak scored for St. Louis, which was trying for its first three-game winning streak of the season.

Calgary is off to the second-best start in franchise history through 34 games. The Flames went 23-6-5 for 51 points in 1988-89.

Tkachuk pounced on the rebound of Giordano’s shot to get the Flames going 5:58 into the game. Lindholm scored short-handed on a breakaway to match a career high with his 17th goal, Giordano added on with a power-play goal and Quine made it 4-0 less than two minutes later.

“We’re a deep team, we’re a good team,” Giordano said. “I think the belief is there right now. And we have to continue that feeling. And time you can pile up points before the halfway point of the season - it’s a good thing.”

Rittich improved to 11-3-1. The undrafted free agent made 34 saves in the win over Minnesota 24 hours earlier.

St. Louis goalie Jake Allen was replaced by Jordan Binnington after the first period. Allen has been pulled before the second period in two of his past four starts.

“We were terrible in the first period,” St. Louis interim coach Craig Berube said. “Every player — terrible. I don’t know how you’re not ready to play. You’re in the NHL, that’s your job.”

NOTES: The Flames are 17-2 when scoring first. ... St. Louis D Joel Edmundson returned after missing two games with a hand injury. ... Calgary is 16-6-1 against Western Conference opponents. ... The Flames are the only team in the NHL with five players with at least 30 points. ... Blues LW Pat Maroon played in his 400th game. ... Calgary C Mikael Backlund returned after missing four games with a concussion.

UP NEXT

Flames: Conclude a three-game swing on Tuesday night in Dallas

Blues: Begin a three-game road trip to Canada on Tuesday night in Edmonton.

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Calgary Flames' Matthew Tkachuk, second from right, is congratulated by teammates after scoring past St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen, left, during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)