The Calgary Flames were looking to rebound against the Arizona Coyotes after an upsetting matchup against the San Jose Sharks. The last time the Flames played the Coyotes, Chris Tanev put up a career-high four-point game, and lo and behold, tonight was another night of milestones. Also, Sean Monahan was a healthy scratch, marking a first in his NHL career being scratched for performance issues.
The first twenty minutes of the game hardly saw any action. Despite a few good scoring chances from the Coyotes, Jacob Markstrom flashed his leather on multiple occasions to make big snags to keep the score tied.
Arizona had a few power play chances, but the Flames’ penalty kill was sharp. By period’s end, the Flames uncharacteristically only had six shots on goal. Despite being outshot, Calgary had a fair amount of scoring chances that didn’t convert. The score was tied after one.
Thirty-three seconds in the middle frame, the Flames finally got through. Johnny Gaudreau made it look like he was going to skate around the net, but instead passed it back to Matthew Tkachuk who was open out front. With Karel Vejmelka deep in his net in preparation for the wraparound, Tkachuk’s shot slipped right in above Vejmelka’s shoulder to open the scoring. The goal marked Tkachuk’s 30th of the season—his second career 30-goal season; the first coming back in 2018–19 when he scored 34 goals.
Just over three minutes later, the Flames were on their first power play of the game. Off of the faceoff, Calgary had control of the puck and a nifty shot fake from Gaudreau initiated a tic-tac-toe play with a one-time pass to Tkachuk for a one-time puck to no other than Elias Lindholm. Parked right out front, Lindholm was in his wheelhouse and made no mistake to double of the Flames’ lead.
The less than five minutes after that, the Flames extended their lead again. Nikita Zadorov initially sent a neutral zone pass right into the stick of Shayne Gostisbehere, but the opposing defender lost his footing and the puck was recovered by Zadorov. On his second pass attempt, he sprung Gaudreau on a 2-on-0 break with Blake Coleman. Electing to hang onto the puck, Gaudreau sniped it top shelf, blocker side.
Like Tkachuk, Gaudreau’s goal also marked his 30th of the season—Gaudreau’s third time doing so; his last time was also back in 2018–19. The goal was also Gaudreau’s 200th career goal to make it an extra special milestone goal for him.
With seconds to go in the second period, a defensive zone turnover by Zadorov led to Michael Carcone taking the puck and scoring his first career NHL goal. The Flames led 3–1 after two.
Just over five minutes into the final frame, the Flames were back on the power play. With the first unit resetting for a zone entry, instead of going for a drop pass to an incoming forward, Rasmus Andersson instead turned on the jets and went in all alone, outskating Arizona’s penalty killers and a few nifty stickhandles later beating Vejmelka on an incredible goal.
The goal is just another exclamation point on Andersson’s season, it being his 40th point of the campaign. Andersson’s rise to the top of the Flames’ defence corps has been fundamental in the Flames’ success this season.
Later in the period, Calgary thought they again extended their lead to 5–1, but upon review, Andersson knocked the puck in with his hand—no goal was awarded on the play.
With a few minutes remaining, the Coyotes scored on a one-timer from Vladislav Kolyachonok. He’d be the second Coyote to score his first career NHL goal this game, joining Carcone for the milestone. Back in the game, Arizona pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, but nothing would come out of it for either team, and the game would end 4–2, final score.
So it’d be a milestone night for players on both sides of the ice, with Gaudreau and Tkachuk reaching season milestones, Gaudreau also collecting a career milestone, and Carcone and Kolyachonok getting first career goals.
At the end of the game, milestones are nice and all, but wins are even nicer—and you can definitely put it in the win column.
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