CALGARY — Michael Frolik had a goal and two assists to lead the red-hot Calgary Flames to a 4-3 comeback victory over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.
Frolik has eight points (four goals, four assists) in seven games since coach Bill Peters made the veteran a healthy scratch on Dec. 29.
Mark Giordano, Sean Monahan, into an empty net, and Matthew Tkachuk also scored for Calgary (29-13-4). The Western Conference-leading Flames have won four games in a row and improve to 7-1-1 in their last nine.
Johnny Gaudreau had an assist to extend his point streak to seven games (seven goals, nine assists).
Mike Hoffman, Jonathan Huberdeau and Evgenii Dadonov replied for Florida (17-18-8). The struggling Panthers are winless in their last five, including an 0-2-1 start to a five-game road trip, which continues Sunday in Vancouver.
David Rittich made 24 saves to improve to 17-4-3 for the Flames. Roberto Luongo, tested 23 times, to drop to 8-10-1 for the Panthers.
Tied 2-2 after the third, Frolik took advantage of a Huberdeau turnover at the blue-line and fed Tkachuk all alone in front for the go-ahead goal that put the Flames ahead for good at 8:29.
Tkachuk spun and whipped his 21st goal through the pads of Luongo.
Monahan’s 24th goal ended up the game-winner thanks to Dadanov’s marker with 20 seconds remaining.
Down 2-0 in the second, Calgary got the comeback started at 10:14 when Frolik deflected in Mikael Backlund’s shot.
The Flames tied it up five minutes later on a terrific set-up by Frolik. Darting down the wing, he stopped sharply after gaining the zone then patiently waited for Giordano to jump up into the the rush before sliding a perfect cross-ice pass that the Flames captain fired past Luongo.
It’s the first three-point night for Frolik in three seasons.
Florida coach Bob Boughner challenged the goal, citing goaltender interference on Tkachuk, who slightly bumped Luongo seconds before it went in, but the call on the ice stood.
Building on a solid opening 20 minutes, the Panthers surged in front by two on Huberdeau’s breakaway goal just 20 seconds into the second. Sprung in alone on a terrific pass by Keith Yandle, Huberdeau slipped a shot through Rittich’s pads.
Taking advantage of a sleepy start by the Flames, who were outshot 10-4 in the opening period, Florida scored the only goal of the frame with Hoffman burying his 21st after a turnover by Noah Hanifin.
Notes: Frolik’s last three-point game was against Winnipeg on March 16, 2016. Flames LW Andrew Mangiapane played his first game since Dec. 15. In 18 career NHL games, he has yet to pick up his first point. Sitting as a healthy scratch was Garnet Hathaway.
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press