Flames Rout Golden Knights – Tkachuk, Gaudreau With 4 Each

CALGARY — Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau tied career-highs with four-point nights on Monday as the Calgary Flames took over top spot in the Pacific Division with a 7-2 rout of the Vegas Golden Knights.

Calgary is even in points with the San Jose Sharks, but have one more regulation/overtime win.

The Flames blew the game open early, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after 20 minutes. Gaudreau, with a goal and three assists, became the 10th player in franchise history — and first since Olli Jokinen (Feb. 14, 2011) — to register four points in a period.

Two more goals in the opening five minutes of the second, including the second of the night from Tkachuk, made it 7-0.

Sean Monahan also had a big night with two goals and an assist. TJ Brodie and Sam Bennett rounded out the scoring for Calgary (12-8-1), which plays Vegas again on Friday at T-Mobile Arena.

Nick Holden and Max Pacioretty scored third-period goals for Vegas (9-12-1).

Gaudreau’s handiwork began 2:36 into the game when he set up Tkachuk, who whipped a 20-foot wrist shot past Malcolm Subban for a power-play goal.

Gaudreau made it 2-0 at 6:49, ripping a shot over Subban’s glove to complete a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing sequence with linemates Elias Lindholm and Monahan.

Gaudreau pounced on a turnover in the Vegas slot and set up Monahan’s one-timer for a 3-0 lead at 10:59, then capped off his record-tying period by setting up Monahan’s second of the period and team-leading 12th goal.

Second-year Czech goaltender David Rittich made 20 saves to improve to 7-1-0.  It was the second start in a row for Rittich, 26, who is getting more playing time with veteran Mike Smith struggling.

Subban went the distance for Vegas, finishing with 25 stops. After going 13-4-2 as a rookie last season, Subban has lost all four starts this season.

Holden broke Rittich’s shutout 47 seconds into the third period. Pacioretty added a power-play goal at 5:14.

Notes: Flames RW James Neal has gone pointless in his last seven games and is stuck at 499 career points. He has just four points (one goal, three assists) in 21 games since signing a five-year, $28.75 million contact in the summer.

Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press