CALGARY — The Calgary Flames tied a franchise record on Monday night that was set long before any of its current players were born.
Kris Versteeg had two assists and scored the shootout winner as the Flames won a 4-3 thriller over the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins to extend their winning streak to 10 games.
The Atlanta Flames had won 10 games in a row Oct. 14 to Nov. 3, 1978.
“It’s really cool to be a part of those things,” said Versteeg, who was born seven years after that streak.
Calgary’s first shooter, Versteeg moved in slowly and made a nifty deke before zipping a shot upstairs on Marc-Andre Fleury. Versteeg also scored the only goal of the shootout when the Flames beat Pittsburgh 3-2 on Feb. 7.
“When you’re coming down on goalies that are world class like Fleury, you just try to do a move,” said Versteeg. “You have a couple picked out and you hope it works.”
Brian Elliott stopped Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel to clinch it.
“That’s a $40 million payroll for three shots,” Versteeg said. “It’s pretty amazing the three shooters he stopped.”
Pittsburgh had a great chance to win it in overtime but could not score on a power play.
“It’s been a great ride,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano. “It felt like bounces were starting to go their way but we found a way to hang on. A huge kill by the guys in OT.”
Johnny Gaudreau, Deryk Engelland and Dennis Wideman scored in regulation for Calgary (39-26-4). The Flames moved back into second in the Pacific Division. They are even in points with Anaheim but have more regulation/overtime wins.
“A great hockey game,” said Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan. “Hard on coach’s life expectancy a little bit, but two really good teams battling it out.”
Malkin, Crosby and Conor Sheary replied for Pittsburgh (43-17-8), whose five-game win streak was snapped. The Penguins move into a tie in points with the Washington Capitals atop the Metropolitan division, but the Capitals have the tie-breaker.
“Big point for us,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. “They’re a hard team to play against. It was a competitive game. It was a fairly even game. It could have went either way.”
Crosby tied it at 16:29 of the third, deflecting Sheary’s rising shot out of mid-air as Elliott tried to catch it.
“Good hockey game — what we expected,” said Crosby. “Our power play let us down a bit with the opportunity in overtime and then probably a couple we could have added to our lead.”
Calgary went ahead 3-2 on Gaudreau’s brilliant individual effort 5:22 into the third.
Darting into the Penguins zone, he side stepped defenceman Ron Hainsey, swung wide to elude a diving poke check then went around the net and neatly tucked the puck inside the near post before Fleury could slide across.
Gaudreau has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in his last 10 games.
“You could tell, right from the get-go tonight, with a couple other elite guys in the building, that Johnny had some pop and was dangerous and that was a big goal for our team,” Gulutzan said. “You saw him raise his level and I was very impressed.”
Elliott, who had 32 saves, improved to 13-1-1 in his last 15 starts. He’s 21-13-3 on the season.
Fleury had 27 stops to fall to 17-8-6.
Already without injured defencemen Trevor Daley, Kris Letang and Olli Maatta, the Penguins lost Mark Streit to a lower body injury. The severity was not known.
Notes: Crosby picked up his 639th assist, moving him to within one of Jaromir Jagr for second on the Penguins all-time list. Mario Lemieux (1,033) is No. 1… Flames D Michael Stone (upper body) missed his second game. But he did skate on his own prior to Calgary’s morning skate. There was no update on his condition… Hainsey played in career game No. 900.