Flames Burn Devils for 7th Straight Win

NEWARK, N.J. — Johnny Gaudreau set up two second-period goals and the Western Conference-leading Calgary Flames extending their season-high winning streak to seven games with a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night.

Elias Lindholm and Mark Giordano scored for the Flames, who have points in eight straight games. David Rittich made 19 saves in improving to 22-5-5.

Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano celebrates his goal with the bench. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Kevin Rooney scored a short-handed goal for the Devils. Mackenzie Blackwood, who spent the last three weeks in the minor leagues, was outstanding in making 33 saves in his return to the NHL.

The game was delayed about 10 minutes early in the third period after Devils defenceman Mirco Mueller crashed into the end boards on a rush and had to be taken on the ice on a stretcher. He moved his legs and gave a thumbs-up to fans.

After outshooting the Devils 15-5 in a scoreless first period, Calgary took the lead at 1:07 of the second period on Lindholm’s 26th goal of the season. His intended pass from the left circle with the Devils playing two men down hit off the skate of defenceman Sami Vatanen and caromed past Blackwood.

The goal came a second after the first penalty expired and ended the power play.

Gaudreau and Giordano combined on a great goal at 13:52. Gaudreau carried the puck into the Devils’ zone on a counterattack and made a nifty cross ice pass to the 35-year-old defenceman. He lifted his skate as if he was going to snap a shot. That froze Blackwood and he continued toward the net and slide a backhander into an open net for his 14th goal.

The point was Giordano’s 60th of the season, making the Flames captain the fourth defenceman in NHL history 35 or older to score 60 points in a season. Nicklas Lidstrom, Al MacInnis and Sergei Zubov are the others.

Rooney got the Devils back in the game with 3:13 left in the second period. He stole the puck from Gaudreau in the Calgary end and circle before releasing a shot from the left circle that beat Rittich.

Rittich protected the lead in the third, stopping Travis Zajac in close and Will Butcher from the point on power play.

NOTES: Flames and Devils will play in Calgary on March 12. … After missing 14 games, the Devils activated Vatanen (concussion) from injured reserve. … The Flames have killed off 13 straight power plays over the last five games. … Devils leading goal scorer Kyle Palmieri (26 goals) was out with a lower-body injury. Calgary is 9-2 against New Jersey in their last 11 games.


Flames: Return home to face Minnesota on Saturday.

Devils: Finish three-game homestand Friday against Philadelphia.


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Tom Canavan, The Associated Press