Jankowski, Versteeg lead Flames to wild 7-4 win over Blues
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Patience is starting to pay off for Mark Jankowski.
The rookie had two goals and an assist, Kris Versteeg scored the winner with 5:31 left and the Calgary Flames scored five times in the third period to beat the St. Louis Blues 7-4 on Monday night.
The Flames are finally getting secondary scoring with the line of Jankowski, Jaromir Jagr and Sam Bennett leading the way in their third game together.
”We’ve got a few games under our belts with my two linemates now and we’re really clicking,” Jankowski said. ”We knew we were getting our chances and the goals would come if we kept playing that way.”
In a wild third period, the Flames took the lead twice only to see the Blues come back to tie it each time. Calgary finally went in front for good when Versteeg’s shot off the wing beat goalie Jake Allen.
”Big win for us. We knew how good they’ve been playing,” Versteeg said.
Bennett scored his first of the season for Calgary, and Micheal Ferland got his fourth goal in four games. Johnny Gaudreau and Michael Frolik also scored as the Flames finished 5-2-0 on their longest homestand of the season.
Gaudreau had two points to extend his point streak to seven games (five goals, seven assists).
Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice for St. Louis (13-5-1), and Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen also scored.
”We got what we deserved tonight,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said. ”We just weren’t ready to play and that was evident right from the drop of the puck. We were very fortunate to tie the game up in the third period on a couple occasions – very, very fortunate.”
Bennett put the Flames in front 3-2 to open the third-period barrage when his backhand of Jankowski’s shot slipped through Allen’s pads.
Steen tied it at 11:46 and then Ferland’s power-play goal restored Calgary’s one-goal lead at 12:31. But 12 seconds later, Tarasenko one-timed a pass from Schwartz to tie it again.
”We just played sloppy the whole time. We played into their hands and we were just very careless,” Blues center Paul Stastny said. ”We did a good job of coming back and being resilient after we let up what was a questionable goal on the penalty, but we came right back and scored a big goal. Then, just made two careless turnovers. It was just what we did all night.”
Mike Smith, who has started 16 of Calgary’s 17 games this season, left after the first period with an undisclosed injury. Eddie Lack played the final 40 minutes, stopping 13 of 15 shots for his first win with the Flames.
”It’s just very nice to get that first win,” Lack said. ”It’s obviously not the way that I thought it was going to be, for sure, and I didn’t play my best game, but I felt I made a huge save when it mattered the most there in the third.”
St. Louis had a great chance to tie it with just more than five minutes left when Lack robbed Dmitrij Jaskin on a backhand in front.
Allen stopped 30 of 36 shots.
St. Louis opened the scoring 3:32 in on its first shot. Colton Parayko crossed the blue line and dropped the puck to Tarasenko, who beat Smith from 40 feet on a high wrist shot over his blocker.
Jankowski scored the next two goals to give Calgary its first lead of the night. With the teams playing four skaters aside, he hammered a slap shot over Allen’s glove at 4:54. Jankowski then took a slick pass from Jagr and scored on deke at 13:45.
”Time to tighten up. I think we’re giving them all their opportunities,” Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. ”Most of them are just puck errors. Our goalies can only stop so many great opportunities.”
NOTES: Sean Monahan had his six-game point streak snapped. … Flames D Travis Hamonic (lower body) returned after missing three games. … St. Louis inserted RW Beau Bennett for Magnus Paajarvi. It was Bennett’s 100th NHL game. … Tarasenko moved onto a line with Steen and Stastny.
Blues: At the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
Flames: Open a six-game road trip Wednesday in Detroit.
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