The top two teams in the Pacific Division by points percentage faced off in Calgary as the Vegas Golden Knights visited for the first time this season. The Flames kicked off a seven-game homestand with a three-game win streak already established prior to the All-Star break. The Flames of course are sitting fourth in the Pacific with games in hand over three all teams ahead of them.
While some teams may slump after the All-Star break, the Flames were looking to not fall victim to such an outcome. Vegas having just faced off against the Edmonton Oilers the night prior, the Flames were opportunistic in every aspect of their game.
The Flames opened the scoring in the first period with Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk passing the puck back and forth around Vegas defender Nicolas Hague, leading to a perfectly placed shot by Gaudreau over Robin Lehner’s blocker side.
A couple minutes past the midpoint of the first, Mikael Backlund ripped a rocket of a wrist shot over Lehner’s glove just as the Flames’ power play expired for the 2–0 lead.
Mere minutes later, Elias Lindholm entered the offensive zone with speed and elected to shoot and just like that, the Flames were suddenly up three goals against the Golden Knights.
The period closed out with 14 shots for Calgary and just five shots for Vegas.
In the second period, the Flames extended the lead with Andrew Mangiapane scoring on home ice. His 21st goal of the season came on a Flames zone entry where he was undetected skating into the slot. Receiving a pass from Backlund, Mangiapane one-timed it past Lehner to add to the Flames’ lead.
The Golden Knights had some chances in the second—Nolan Patrick in particular had a few prime opportunities to draw Vegas back into the game—but Jacob Markstrom was sharp and kept the visitors scoreless.
While the Flames may have loosened their defensive structure with the big lead, Markstrom was up to the task in every way.
When the Flames are feeling good on the ice, you can expect to see some between-the-legs attempts from Tkachuk. Yes, the Flames were feeling good, and yes, Tkachuk did the thing.
Just three minutes into the third, Tkachuk scored Calgary’s fifth goal taking a pass at the goal line and going between the legs to elevate the puck over Lehner’s pad. Put that on highlight reels across the continent.
With a comfortable lead, the Flames didn’t exactly relent on offence whatsoever. They continued to push the pace of play and exploited Vegas’ defensive lapses, not looking like a team defending a five-goal lead at all.
Late in the third, the Flames were on their second power play of the game. While their first opportunity expired right before Backlund’s goal, they made sure to convert on the man-advantage the second time around. Mangiapane picked up his second of the game to be first on the team with 22 goals scored on the season, and Backlund picked up his fourth point of the night—a total of one goal and three primary assists—to set a new career-high.
The Flames closed out the game with just one thing left to do: secure Markstrom’s league-leading eighth shutout of the season. And they did exactly that. No other goalie in the league has more than four. Flames win big against Vegas with a final score of 6–0.
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