CALGARY — Led by Sam Bennett, it was long-awaited, much-needed big night for Calgary’s secondary scorers.
Bennett scored twice, including the winner, and also added an assist on Friday as the Flames rallied late in the third for a 6-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
On the go-ahead goal at 16:06 on the power play, Bennett was sent in on a breakaway on a pass from Derek Ryan, and fired a quick shot inside the post on Jimmy Howard, before toppling over the Red Wings goaltender.
"The puck was bouncing so I had a little bit of trouble corralling it and once I finally did, I was pretty tight and I looked up and first thing I saw was top glove-hand, so I just put it there as fast as I could," said Bennett, whose collected his first three-point night of the season.
Calgary finished 3 for 3 with the man advantage, with every goal coming from the second power-play unit, which hadn’t produced a goal since Dec. 2. Over the last six games, the Flames are 8 for 14 with the extra man.
"I thought Benny had some emotional involvement in the game and that’s when he’s at his best," said Flames coach Bill Peters. "Good to see those guys get rewarded because I know they’ve put a lot of time in at practice, working on the power play."
James Neal, also on that unit, had a goal and an assist for his first multi-point game of the season. Ryan ended up with a pair of helpers. TJ Brodie, who plays the point on that second unit, had a goal and two assists.
"We want to chip in, for sure," said Neal, whose fifth goal was just his second in the last 33 games. "That No. 1 unit takes a heavy load and rightfully so. For us, when we get a chance to get out there, we want to make something happen. It was good to see that go in tonight."
The Flames penalty kill also came through big time. After giving up a 5-on-3 goal early, they shut out the Red Wings the rest of the way while also producing the goal that made it 4-4 at 14:03.
Mark Giordano joined the rush, took a slick feed from Ryan, and fired a shot that deflected off Niklas Kronwall’s stick and bounced past Howard. It was Calgary’s league-leading 15th short-handed goal.
"When we go over the boards there with a 4-3 lead, we’ve got to at least keep the puck out of our net on the power play," said Detroit centre Dylan Larkin, who had two goals. "We’ve got to be smarter with the puck."
Detroit finished 1 for 5 on the power play.
"We couldn’t get in the zone," said Anthony Mantha, who also had a goal. "We have to blame ourselves. We knew the way they were waiting for us at the blueline there and we just couldn’t handle their pressure."
Sean Monahan also scored for Calgary (31-13-5). The Western Conference-leading Flames extend their point streak to seven games (6-0-1). They’re 9-1-2 in their last dozen.
Johnny Gaudreau had an assist to extend his point streak to 10 games (9-12-21), which ties a career-high.
Mike Green scored for Detroit (18-24-7), which was kicking off a three-game road trip that continues Sunday night in Vancouver.
"At the end of the day, six minutes to play with a one-goal lead and we get a power play, you at the very least got to salt away those two minutes," said Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill. "We shot ourselves in the foot."
Relegated to back-up duties lately, Mike Smith made 31 saves for Calgary to improve to 14-9-1. He has won nine of his last 11 decisions.
Howard had 30 stops for Detroit. He fell to 13-13-5.
It was a wild third period. Green’s backhand at 4:16 gave Detroit a 3-2 lead. Neal’s deflection tied it. Larkin gave the Red Wings another lead at 8:35 with his team-leading 20th goal.
The Flames have been coming back late in games all season.
"Most of the time it deflates you when that keeps happening, but our team, we never sagged," Bennett said. "We never got down on each other or frustrated. We just kept sticking with it. That’s the mentality that you need to have."
Notes: Travis Hamonic (family illness) returned to the Flames line-up after missing two games.