Backlund, Markstrom lead Flames past Golden Knights, 6-0
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Mikael Backlund had a goal and three assists and Jacob Markstrom stopped 28 shots for his NHL-leading eighth shutout as the Calgary Flames beat the Vegas Golden Knights 6-0 on Wednesday night.
“They did whatever they wanted tonight. We didn’t put up much of a fight,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “They were really good tonight.”
Andrew Mangiapane had two goals, Matthew Tkachuk added a goal and an assist, and Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm also scored to help Calgary win for the sixth time in seven games. The Flames moved one point behind Los Angeles and Anaheim for second place in the Pacific Division with Calgary holding four games in hand on the Kings and five on the Ducks.
Markstrom, who got the 16th shutout of his career, improved to 18-10-5 this season. The Flames, starting a seven-game homestand, have won four straight at the Saddledome.
Robin Lehner made 27 saves and fell to 19-13-1 for Vegas.
“Hopefully we show up on time next time,” DeBoer said.
The Golden Knights, coming off a 4-0 win at Edmonton on Tuesday night, were blanked for the third time this season — and first since Nov. 2.
Markstrom wasn’t overly busy early, but he was sharp when called upon, especially over the final 40 minutes. In particular, he had Nolan Patrick’s number, stopping him three times in the second period and all on good scoring chances.
First, he stretched across the crease to stop a redirect from the top of the crease. Right after the ensuing faceoff, he made a glove stop on Patrick from the slot. Then in the final minute of the period, he got a block on Patrick’s backhand after he stripped the puck from Nikita Zadorov and darted in on a breakaway.
Calgary opened the scoring at 5:03 of the first on a perfectly executed give-and-go with Gaudreau and Tkachuk, capped off with Gaudreau going top corner for his 19th goal.
“They dominated us from start to finish. They embarrassed us,” Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb said.
The Flames entered the night 0 for 14 in their previous five games on the power play and while the man advantage wasn’t credited with Calgary’s second goal at 12:24 of the first, it came with Backlund beating Lehner on another wrist shot to the top corner, just 4 seconds after McNabb got out of the penalty box.
Calgary jumped in front 3-0 less than three minutes later in a continuation of the trend of picking the top corner, this time Lindholm ripping one past Lehner from 40 feet out.
“There’s no excuse for how we started the game,” DeBoer said. “The game essentially was over 20 minutes in, unfortunately.”
The Flames extended the lead to 4-0 at 6:57 of the second period on another pretty set-up, this time Backlund centering the puck to Mangiapane for a one-timer that, again, went to top corner on Lehner.
After Tkachuk’s nifty between-the-legs goal at 3:09 of the third, Calgary wrapped up the scoring on another Backlund to Mangiapane set-up.
Just three of Mangiapane’s 22 goals have come on home ice.
NOTES: Vegas RW Mark Stone (upper body) did not play. Moving up to the top line alongside Max Pacioretty and Chandler Stephenson was Evgenii Dadonov. Inserted into the lineup was Patrick. ... Calgary evens the season series. They lost 3-2 in Vegas on Dec. 5. ... It was only Calgary’s fourth win in 13 career meetings with the Golden Knights (4-9-0).
Golden Knights: Host Colorado on Feb. 16 to open a two-game homestand.
Flames: Host Toronto on Thursday night in the second of a seven-game homestand.
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