CALGARY — Bailed out by his teammates after a taking a high-sticking double-minor in the game's opening minute, Elias Lindholm expressed his appreciation on the scoreboard.
Lindholm scored twice and added an assist on Wednesday to extend his goal streak to six games and lead the red-hot Calgary Flames to a 6-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks for their eighth straight win.
“It's tough to go in the box for four minutes, but the guys did an awesome job,” said Lindholm. “Obviously, if they score on there, it's a different game, but now we got some momentum out of it so that was good.”
Adding to the size of that early challenge was that Lindholm is one of the club's primary penalty killers.
“Our killers did an awesome job,” said head coach Darryl Sutter. “That's for sure the difference in the game. They're a fresh team and we're not coming into the night so the lead is really important in a game like tonight.”
A minute after Lindholm's penalty expired, Dillon Dube's deflection gave the Flames a 1-0 lead. It's his second goal in as many games after snapping a 13-game pointless skid.
Forced to kill off another penalty shortly after that, Calgary surged in front 2-0 at 12:55 with Lindholm the marksman as the Flames converted their first power play chance of the game.
For the Pacific Division-leading Flames, three up on Vegas, it's their longest winning streak since rattling off 10 straight victories in 2016-17, which is tied for the franchise record. They've outscored teams 37-13 during this stretch.
“It feels good,” says Lindholm, who also has an eight-point streak (7-6-13). “Obviously when you're winning, it's easier to come to the rink. You're having fun and everything seems easy.”
Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Johnny Gaudreau - into an empty net - also scored for Calgary (28-13-6) while defenceman Rasmus Andersson had three assists for his first career three-point night. Gaudreau (4-8-11), who also had two assists, extends his point streak to eight games.
The Flames also continue their roll on home ice where they've also won eight games in a row, outscoring teams 41-10. Calgary's season-long seven-game homestand continues Saturday when they play host to Seattle in Mark Giordano's return.
“We just play, follow the system, and everyone's buying in,” said Lindholm. “We just do the same things over and over again and eventually the teams are wearing out and we take over the games.”
Sonny Milano and Isac Lundestrom scored for Anaheim (23-18-9), which opened up a three-game road trip through Western Canada. It's been a quiet February so far for the Ducks with Wednesday being just their second game of the month.
“That is an excellent hockey team. They're heavy. They can score. They can hurt you a number of different ways,” said Ducks coach Dallas Eakins.
Anaheim is right back in action in Edmonton on Thursday.
In net, Jacob Markstrom made 26 stops in his 13th start in the last 14 games as he improved to 21-10-5.
Anaheim starter John Gibson was replaced by Anthony Stolarz halfway through the second period, after giving up four goals on 20 shots. He takes the loss to fall to 15-11-8.
"I'm big on odds and percentages. The chances that we were going to come back were low, so I'd rather have him rested and ready for tomorrow," Eakins said.
After Milano's goal 1:35 into the second made it 2-1, Lindholm restored the two-goal cushion when he collected the loose puck after his own missed bank pass and beat Gibson top corner.
The Flames made it 4-1 just 41 seconds later when the power play made it two straight conversions on Tkachuk's 23rd goal.
“We were coming along fine in the second and we gave them two goals,” said Eakins. “You can't give two goals like that this time of year."
Calgary finished 2-for-5 on the power play while the Ducks went 0-for-5.
"I know for me personally, I had a few blocked, maybe forced a pass or two that I didn't need to,” said Ducks defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk. “It just didn't go in for certain opportunities. I think that's just frustrating in a game like tonight. We could feel that during the game. Every chance we got a power play was a big chance to maybe get the game back in our hands and we weren't able to pull through."
Anaheim got a short-handed goal 4:26 into the third to get back to within two goals, but the Flames scored twice late to finish it off.
Notes: Gaudreau's two assists gives him 367 for his career, moving him past Giordano and into fifth on the Flames all-time assists list... During their eight-game win streak at home, Calgary has outscored its opponent 41-10... Mikael Backlund played his 791st career game, tying Theoren Fleury for fifth on the Flames all-time list.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2022.
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press