Gaudreau, Markstrom lead Flames to 6-0 win over Rangers
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Johnny Gaudreau had two goals and an assist, Jacob Markstrom made 22 saves for his league-best fourth shutout of the season and the Calgary Flames extended their point streak to 10 games with a 6-0 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and three assists to stretch his point streak to six games, and Sean Monahan, Brad Richardson and Milan Lucic also scored for Calgary. The Flames improved to 7-0-3 since a season-opening loss to Edmonton for their longest point streak since an 11-game run from Dec. 13, 2017 to Jan. 25, 2018.
“The atmosphere was great,” said Tkachuk, who topped off his big night with a highlight-reel goal from between his legs. “We’ve had way too many overtime losses here at home and we really needed a win to get the Saddledome buzzing a little bit and get the fans involved.”
Igor Shesterkin had 31 saves to fall to 5-2-2 for the Rangers, who lost their second straight and finished 1-1-2 on a four-game trip. New York was swept in the season series after also losing 5-1 to Calgary at home on Oct. 25.
“We were obviously pretty bad tonight,” New York coach Gerard Gallant said. “It’s been a grind and tonight, I’m glad we’re done playing Calgary. Put it that way.”
Calgary had lost three of its last four home games in extra time, but this game was put away early.
“It’s always fun to play home and I feel like personally, too, I haven’t played my best here and would have wanted a couple more wins at home. But we got a big one tonight and the rink was buzzing,” said Markstrom, who improved to 5-1-3.
Markstrom had a big stop early in the second period to preserve a 1-0 lead. Chris Kreider, who entered the night tied for third in the NHL with eight goals, was set up in the slot by Barclay Goodrow on a rush, but was denied by the goalie.
Markstrom added a couple more eye-popping glove stops in the third, robbing Ryan Strome and Mika Zibanejad.
“He can obviously make those saves, but it’s the ones that are hard that we know that are hard that he makes look so easy and he’s doing it each and every night for us right now,” Tkachuk said of Markstrom.
Monahan gave the Flames their lead with 4 minutes to go in the first period, and Calgary took control with goals just over two minutes apart midway through the second.
At 9:15, Richardson got his first of the season when he corraled Oliver Kylington’s shot off the end boards and shoveled it inside the near post. Kylington’s assist extended his point streak to a career-best six games.
Calgary made it 3-0 at 11:19. Noah Hanifin misfired on a slap shot from the point, but the three-hopper on net couldn’t be controlled by Shesterkin and Gaudreau ended up banging in the loose puck from the side of the net.
The Flames then sealed it with three in the third. Gaudreau backhanded in his second of the night and fourth of the season as he cut to the net off the wing at 6:42, Lucic notched his fourth with 6:47 left and Tkachuk went between his legs for a highlight-reel effort with 5:04 remaining.
“Every game we’re going to go back and look at the mistakes and take the lesson and leave the mistakes, but right now this one stings a lot,” Kreider said. “Tonight we didn’t trust the system.”
After a disappointing season a year ago in which Tkachuk scored 16 goals in 56 games, he’s got six goals in 11 games this season. That includes goals in four straight games and a six-game point streak in which he’s notched five goals and nine points.
“He’s made a difference on this team,” said Flames coach Darryl Sutter. “Give him full marks tonight because his line struggled the last game and he took it on tonight and he carried the line.”
The Scotiabank Saddledome crowd of 15,879 was as loud as they’ve been all season and it started from the outset, loudly booing Adam Fox every time the Rangers’ defenseman touched the puck. It was in response to the Flames’ third-round pick in 2016 forcing a trade away from Calgary due to his unwillingness to sign with the team.
It looked briefly like Fox would get his revenge when he appeared to score the tying goal with 1:43 remaining in the first, in which afterwards he brought his glove up to his ear as he faced the crowd during his celebration.
But the volume of the booing intensified as video review showed that Samuel Blais had preceded the puck into the zone on the Rangers rush, resulting in the goal being waved off. As the officials made the announcement, the video screen zoomed in on Fox on the bench, causing the fans to erupt.
Monahan scored his 206th career goal, moving him past Eric Vail and into eighth on the franchise all-time list.
Rangers: Host Florida on Monday night.
Flames: Host San Jose on Tuesday night to wrap up a five-game homestand.
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