Flames top Predators to grab 1st spot in West

Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm had a goal and assist each to help the Flames beat the Predators 5-2.

CALGARY — Make it five straight wins and first place in the Western Conference for the Calgary Flames, who kept on rolling Saturday night despite a depleted lineup.

Rookie defenceman Oliver Kylington was among the depth players that stepped up, notching his first NHL goal and helping set up the game-winner as the Calgary Flames won 5-2 over the Nashville Predators.

Calgary was missing No. 2 centre Mikael Backlund (concussion), who was injured Thursday, as well as Ryan Lomberg and captain Mark Giordano, who both received two-game suspensions from separate incidents in that same game against the Minnesota Wild.

Kylington’s goal came 1:12 into the game when he took a pass from Elias Lindholm and fired a rising shot over Juuse Saros.

"Amazing feeling," said Kylington, 21, a second-round pick from the Flames’ 2015 draft.

"When I got it off my stick I had a good feeling, and when I saw the puck in the back of the net, a happy feeling, obviously."

His first goal and point comes in career game No. 7.

"Seeing our guys smile like that is a proud moment as a coach," said Flames bench boss Bill Peters.

"Kylington has been working towards that goal his whole life and to see him get rewarded after all the hours on the ice and off the ice is special."

The young Swede was also involved in the goal that broke a 2-2 tie at 6:03 of the third period. On what he said was a set play off a faceoff win, Kylington passed the puck back to Matthew Tkachuk whose point shot was deflected in by Garnet Hathaway.

"We have a great team in here," said Hathaway, who tied a career-high with his fourth goal. "When you get depth scoring and you get those guys playing as well as they are. We have roles right now and guys are stepping up."

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The Flames added some insurance at 12:12 of the third when Quine — recalled earlier in the day from the AHL’s Stockton Heat and playing his first game for Calgary — made it 4-2 on his first goal of the season off a set-up from rookie defenceman Rasmus Andersson.

Quine, 25, entered the 2018-19 campaign with six NHL goals in 84 career games with the New York Islanders.

"To play in the best league in the world is the ultimate goal. When you’re in the minors, you’re trying to give yourself an opportunity to be in that spot and I’m happy that I got that opportunity," Quine said. "To be able to fit in and contribute, it’s a great feeling."

Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm, into an empty net, also scored for Calgary (19-9-2). Johnny Gaudreau with two assists and Lindholm with two points extended their point streaks to seven and six games, respectively.

Colton Sissons and Craig Smith replied for Nashville (19-10-1). The Predators are winless in their last six games on the road (0-5-1).

"We gave them too much," said Smith, whose goal in the opening minute of the third briefly tied it 2-2. "They capitalized on a lot of quick turnovers. We’re going to have to go back and look at the tape and make some adjustments again and correct it."

Calgary’s Mike Smith made 25 saves to improve to 11-7-1. The 36-year-old has won six straight after a rocky start to the season resulted in him being relegated to the backup role for four games in a row in mid-November.

Nashville backup Juuse Saros made 20 saves as Pekka Rinne got the night off after getting pulled Thursday in a loss in Vancouver. His record falls to 7-5-0.

"I think the effort was there. It’s just a game of inches, a couple bounces here and there," said Saros.

Notes: Calgary’s Mark Jankowski played in career game No. 100… Calgary improves to 14-2-0 when scoring first… The Flames win the season series 2-1.


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