Blue Jackets unable to capitalize on chances, downed by Flames in Calgary 4-2
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Johnny Gaudreau scored his team-leading 35th goal and Michael Frolik added a goal and an assist and the Calgary Flames earned a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
David Rittich made 31 saves to win his fourth start in a row. Andrew Mangiapane and Matthew Tkachuk also scored for the Flames and Austin Czarnik had two assists.
Oliver Bjorkstrand and defenseman Zach Werenski scored for Columbus. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 27 shots in the loss.
The Flames were the first Western Conference team to clinch a playoff spot Sunday.
With nine games remaining in the regular season, their objective is staying atop the Pacific Division and ahead of the San Jose Sharks.
San Jose was idle Tuesday but clinched a playoff spot when the Minnesota Wild lost to the Colorado Avalanche.
Columbus leads the Eastern Conference’s final wild-card spot by one point after Montreal’s 3-1 win in Philadelphia.
Mangiapane scored late in the first period and Frolik 35 seconds into the second for an early 3-1 cushion.
Columbus shooters rang the puck off Calgary’s post three times during the first 40 minutes.
Bjorkstrand’s power-play goal at 5:28 of the third period pulled the Jackets within a goal. His wrist shot from the faceoff circle rolled up and over the left shoulder of Rittich.
Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin blocked a shot with the back of his head midway through the second period. He left the game, but returned for the third.
Frolik scored Calgary’s third goal on a neutral zone pass from defenseman T.J. Brodie. Frolik eluded Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones to beat Bobrovsky.
Calgary’s Garnet Hathaway and Blue Jackets defenseman Adam McQuaid collided behind the play a minute later and traded punches.
Blue Jackets Lukas Sedlak and Ryan Dzingel both shot the puck off Rittich’s left post during the last three minutes of the first period.
But Calgary led 2-1 on Mangiapane’s goal with the clock ticking down. He had half an open net to score with a backhand when Bobrovsky lost track of Mark Jankowski’s pass through traffic.
Gaudreau pulled the Flames even at 12:44. From the behind the goal line, Derek Ryan threw the puck to Gaudreau in the high slot for the winger to score.
Werenski made the most of a neutral zone turnover by Calgary for the game’s first goal. The defenseman hustled the puck into the offensive zone and beat Rittich with a wrist shot at 10:25.
NOTES: Flames center Sean Monahan (illness) and winger Sam Bennett (upper body) were scratched a second straight game. … Giordano tied Robyn Regehr for the second-most games played by a Calgary Flame with his 826th. … With an assist, Giordano has five in his past five games.
Blue Jackets: Visits Edmonton on Thursday night.
Flames: Hosts Ottawa on Thursday night.