Tkachuk, Andersson lead Flames to 5-2 win over Canucks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and two assists, Rasmus Andersson had a goal and an assist and the Calgary Flames beat the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 Saturday night.
Noah Hanifin, Elias Lindholm and Johnny Gaudreau also scored for the Flames. Dan Vladar had 23 saves to help the Flames bounce back from a 1-0 loss in overtime at home to Buffalo on Friday night.
The Flames also got a measure of revenge after losing 7-1 in their last trip to Vancouver on Feb. 24.
“I thought we pretty much got embarrassed that night and this is our last game of the regular season here in this rink so we had one more crack at it to get them back,” Tkachuk said.
Matthew Highmore and Brock Boeser scored for Vancouver. Thatcher Demko stopped 25 of 29 shots through two periods, and Jaroslav Halak had 14 saves in the third in his first appearance since Feb. 28.
The Flames outshot Vancouver 44-25 to improve to 7-4-1 in the second half of back-to-backs this season.
“I don’t know if it’s a statement game or not but I know that obviously we talked about what happened last time we were in here and the small picture, we all wanted to start the game really good and that’s what we did,.” Andersson said. “We just focused on ourselves and we did what we could and we ended up playing a good game.”
Calgary was dominant from the start, building a 3-0 lead in the first period, and pushing it to 4-0 in the second.
Calgary increased its lead to 5-0 with a power-play goal 6:28 into the third after Boeser was called for high-sticking on Gaudreau. With 30 seconds left in the man advantage, Gaudreau got a cross-ice pass from Tkachuk and fired it past Halak for his 28th goal of the season.
The Canucks got on the board at 7:37, with Highmore deflecting in a long shot from Juho Lammikko to make it 5-1.
Vancouver got a solid opportunity late in the game when Erik Gudbranson was called for tripping Tyler Motte as he dashed to the Calgary net with less than three minutes left on the game clock.
The Canucks were quick to respond, with Boeser muscling a rebound into the net from inside the crease just 8 seconds into the power play. Boeser’s 18th goal of the season cut Vancouver’s deficit to 5-2.
Both the Flames and the Canucks went 1 for 2 on the power play.
“We’ve been fighting for our lives for 3 1/2 months and now to all of the sudden make it easy for the opposition, whether it’s Detroit, whoever, whoever’s come out, Washington in the first period, and really taken it to us, that’s self readiness,” Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I don’t have an answer. I’d love to be sitting here and say I’ve got the answer but I don’t have the answer right now.”
Hanifin opened the scoring 4:45 into the game, getting a long pass from new teammate Calle Jarnkrok and snapping a wrist shot past Demko stick side. Jarnkrok, acquired from Seattle on Wednesday, earned his first point for Calgary.
Tkachuk stretched the lead at 7:46, sweeping a shot toward the Vancouver net from the hash marks and finding space between Demko and the right post. The goal was Tkachuk’s 29th of the season.
Andersson made it 3-0 as he fired a shot off the post and in with 6:09 left in the first for the defenseman’s 100th NHL point (15 goals, 85 assists).
“It was obviously a great play by (Tkachuk) here and so it’s nice to get a goal too, felt like that was long time ago,” Andersson said. “So it was nice to get that point.”
The Canucks came into the second with renewed energy and had a 5-0 advantage on shots over the first three minutes. However, the Flames added to their lead on their first opportunity of the period.
Tyler Toffoli picked off defenseman Tyler Myers at the blue line and passed the puck to Lindholm from his knees. The center cruised past a pair of stationary Canucks and put a snap shot past Demko for his 31st at 4:29.
“Obviously we wanted to come out hard in the second period,” Canucks captain Bo Horvat said. “Maybe if those go in it’s a different story but when you’re down 3-0 going into the second, especially against a team like that, it’s hard to come back.”
NOTES: Vancouver has lost two games in a row in regulation for the first time since Jan. 15. ... Demko has appeared in 19 straight games for the Canucks, including nine straight starts. ... The Flames hold a 2-1-0 edge in the season series with the fourth and final game set for April 23 in Calgary.
Flames: Host San José on Tuesday night.
Canucks: Host Buffalo on Sunday night to wrap a seven-game homestand.
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