CALGARY — Johnny Gaudreau opened the scoring and then set up the winner midway through the second as the Calgary Flames snapped a five-game losing skid at home with a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers.
Less than three minutes after New York had tied it 3-3, Sean Monahan gave the Flames their third lead of the night at 8:22 of the second when he neatly finished off a pretty tic-tac-toe passing sequence.
Gaudreau fed a pass back to Hanifin at the blue line, who immediately zipped a pass to Monahan in front, who used his quick hands to score his 14th of the season.
Mikael Backlund and Derek Ryan also scored for Calgary (21-17-5). The Flames fly out on Saturday for a two-game road trip that kicks off in Minnesota on Sunday.
Jacob Trouba, Filip Chytil and rookie Kaapo Kaako, with his seventh goal, scored for New York (19-17-4). Former Flames draft pick Adam Fox had three assists. The Rangers fall to 1-2-0 on a four-game road trip that wraps up Saturday night in Vancouver.
After getting off to shaky starts, former Ranger Cam Talbot and Henrik Lundqvist, who he backed up in New York’s net for two seasons when he broke into the NHL, were both perfect over the final half of the game.
Beaten on two of his first three shots faced, Talbot settled in to finish the night with 24 stops and improve to 4-7-0.
Lundqvist, who surrendered three goals on the first nine shots he faced, ended up turning aside 25 shots. His record fell to 9-9-3.
Down 3-2 after the first period, the Rangers tied it at 5:46 on Kakko’s long-range shot through a maze of bodies in front that Talbot didn’t appear to see.
Tied 2-2 in a high-scoring first period, Calgary regained the lead at 13:18 when Ryan got the puck high in the slot, spun and whipped a shot past Lundqvist.
Coming off consecutive home games in which the Flames fell behind 3-0 in the first period, it was Calgary that got the jump on this night with Gaudreau first to a loose puck in the neutral zone and scoring on a breakaway at 6:48.
The Flames then scored a rare short-handed goal while playing two men short when Backlund intercepted Tony Deangelo’s cross-ice pass and headed up ice on another breakaway, beating Lundqvist on a move to his backhand for his sixth goal of the season. He has three goals in his last six games after breaking an 18-goal goalless skid.
But with time left still on the two-man advantage, the Rangers went right back to work and answered 26 seconds later with Trouba scoring on New York’s first shot of the game.
Twenty-five seconds later, on the ensuing one-man advantage, New York tied it with Chytil knocking in Kakko’s rebound.
Calgary’s late afternoon trade of Michael Frolik to Buffalo forced interim head coach Geoff Ward to shuffle of his forward lines including returning Backlund to right wing on a line with Gaudreau and Monahan, where he had been playing, and inserting centre Mark Jankowski… New York left-winger Chris Kreider played in his 500th NHL game… Trouba’s goal was his 200th career point.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 2, 2020.
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press