Giordano, Bennett lead Flames to 6-1 win over Canucks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) The Calgary Flames were happy with their overall game despite winning just twice in their last seven games. That faith in the system paid off with a big victory over a depleted opponent on Sunday.
Mark Giordano scored twice, Sam Bennett had a goal and three assists, and the Flames snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-1 victory over the injury-riddled Vancouver Canucks.
”We’ve been playing well lately,” Giordano said. ”Tonight we got the breaks.”
Mark Jankowski had a goal and two assists, and Matthew Tkachuk and Micheal Ferland also scored for Calgary.
You like to see that, when lots of guys are getting on the board,” Bennett said. ”It’s good for everyone’s confidence.”
Dougie Hamilton had two assists and backup goalie David Rittich made 16 saves to pick up his third win in four appearances as Calgary improved to 3-4-1 since a 7-5 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Dec. 2.
”I give these guys credit,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said after his team bounced back from a 2-0 loss at home to Nashville the previous day. ”They’ve stuck with it.”
Markus Granlund scored for Vancouver, which lost rookie star Brock Boeser to a foot injury early in the second period.
Jacob Markstrom allowed five goals on 19 shots in a forgettable outing before getting replaced by Anders Nilsson to start the third period. Nilsson made 18 saves in relief as the Canucks lost in regulation for the fifth time in six games while getting outscored 29-9.
”There were probably a couple tonight Marky would like to have back,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said. ”We also gave up some chances we shouldn’t have.”
The Flames opened the scoring at 5:45 of the first period when Bennett shook Jake Virtanen’s check in the corner before feeding a pass in front to Jankowski, who beat Markstrom low to the far post for his sixth of the season.
Thomas Vanek had an opportunity with seven minutes left in the opening period for Vancouver, but he couldn’t control a bouncing puck at the side of the net on a play that resulted in Rittich – making just his fifth NHL appearance – getting penalized for throwing his stick.
It was one of the few sequences where Rittich had to sweat in what was a relatively easy night for Czech goalie.
”Like skating practice for me, not a lot of shots because guys played really well and blocked a lot of shots,” he said. ”They played like they don’t need a goalie so I just say, `Thanks guys.”’
Coming off a spirited 4-3 overtime victory over San Jose on Friday night, the injury-riddle Canucks were never in this one.
Things went from bad to worse early in the second when Boeser, who leads the Canucks in both goals (17) and points (30), took a shot by Giordano off his skate and did not return. The NHL’s rookie scoring leader crawled in agony to the bench, and didn’t put any weight on his left leg as he exited to the locker-room at a hushed Rogers Arena.
Boeser was seen on crutches after the game, but the team didn’t provide an update.
Vancouver is already without two of its top forwards in Bo Horvat (fractured foot) and Sven Baertschi (broken jaw), defensemen Christopher Tanev (groin strain) and Erik Gudbranson (upper body), and center Brandon Sutter (upper body).
”It’s not a lot of fun right now,” Canucks forward Daniel Sedin said. ”We have a lot of young guys that are going to get more ice time.”
Giordano scored his first of the night, and fifth of the year, at 3:56 of the second with the teams playing 4-on-4 when he skated around Ben Hutton and beat Markstrom.
The Flames, who improved to 9-4-3 on the road, then put the game out of reach during a four-minute span.
Tkachuk made it 3-0 with his seventh with 4:13 remaining in the second, Giordano got his second of the night exactly three minutes later, and Bennett got his fifth another minute later to make it 5-0.
Granlund broke Rittich’s bid for his first career shutout at 6:48 of the third when he got his own rebound off the crossbar and scored his seventh, and third in two games, on a power play.
Ferland made it 6-1 on a Flames power play at 11:09 to snap an 0-for-23 drought.
”This is a stick-with-it league,” said Gulutzan. ”We had some guys step up. … We had lots of guys going, and we need to continue with that.”
NOTES: Calgary won the season series 3-1-0. … Tkachuk had three goals and two assists in the Flames’ four games against Vancouver in 2017-18, and nine points (three goals, six assists) in an eight-game point streak against the Canucks.
Flames: Host St. Louis on Wednesday night.
Canucks: Host Montreal on Tuesday night to close a four-game homestand.