Flames Takeaways: Calgary makes things interesting, but veterans save the day

Milan Lucic scored in his second straight game and assisted one of Nazem Kadri's two goals as the Calgary Flames handled the San Jose Sharks 7-3.

When you set a franchise record with the two fastest goals to open a game, one might think capping the evening with a win would be a foregone conclusion.

Not with these Calgary Flames.

Despite goals from Tyler Toffoli and Dillon Dube a mere 15 and 30 seconds into the game respectively, the Flames found themselves locked in a 3-3 tie midway through the third period.

Those who didn’t see the game might assume the hero was Nazem Kadri, who scored two of the final four goals in the final ten minutes of a 7-3 win at SAP Center.

But while Kadri was one of six Flames with multi-point efforts, the stage was set for the team’s second-straight win in San Jose by several of the 12 third-period stops by Jacob Markstom, including a kick-save on a 2-on-1 that wound up moments later in San Jose’s net.

A handful of takeaways from the team’s second-consecutive record-setting night:


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Two goals in 30 seconds marked the fifth-fastest two-goal start in NHL history.

Coach Darryl Sutter joked afterwards the Flames could have made it the three-fastest goals.

“Lindy (Elias Lindholm) won three faceoffs, clean, in a row, our defence jumped, and away we went,” said the coach, whose club gained the zone immediately after all three draws. 

“We could have scored three, just like that.”
The previous record in Calgary was 32 seconds, established in 1987.

The feat comes two nights after Lindholm set a club record for the fastest two goals to open a period, when he found the net twice in the opening 35 seconds of the third period.     

“It was a good start,” downplayed Lindholm on Sportsnet 960.

“Probably not going to happen again, or not too often at least.”
Both goals featured brilliant passes preceded by great pinches from Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson to force turnovers.


Despite dominating most of the night, a bad line change allowed the Sharks to score late in the second period, before scoring early in the third to tie it up 3-3.

With ten minutes left, Kadri finished a nifty give-and-go with Milan Lucic with a filthy roof job that would eventually prove to be the winner.

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It kick-started a rare scoring binge spearheaded by the newly-formed line with Jonathan Huberdeau, who had three assists, while Lucic added a goal and a helper to Kadri’s two snipes.

Tyler Toffoli’s second of the night was an empty netter.

Moving Lucic up to the top trio was almost as surprising as the big man responding with a goal in consecutive games.

“He was noticeable, which is good,” said Sutter.

“That’s the type of player he is, he’s got to be noticeable to help our team.”

Yet, his line’s seven points were eclipsed by the new top unit, which had eight.

Two nights after Dube, Toffoli and Lindholm all scored as part of a 5-2 win, Dube added a goal and a helper, Toffoli added two goals and an assist while Lindholm had three assists.

They were the driving force of the San Jose sweep, scoring seven of the team’s 12 goals.

That’s a four-game streak for Dube, who has two goals and seven points since swapping with Huberdeau to join the top unit.

We might just see these lines stick for a while.

After all, while the third line of Mikael Backlund, Blake Coleman and Andrew Mangiapane didn’t score, they racked up ten shots on net and were dangerous all night long.


Markstrom made 24 saves, but none bigger than the kick save on an Oskar Lindblom 2 on 1 the Flames immediately turned up ice to score the winner.

With his club still clinging to a 4-3 lead in the third he made a key save mere moments after Hanifin dislodged his stick from being stuck in his netminder’s skate blade.

Another big stop on Matt Nieto led to Lucic’s insurance goal.

“Talk about a tie game in the third, Marky made some 10-bellers for sure,” said Sutter, who started his main man for the sixth time in seven games.


Chris Tanev was taken off injured reserve earlier in the day and returned after missing three games to recover from the scary blast he took to the head in Montreal.

He teamed up with MacKenzie Weegar, who made a huge play to bat a puck out of the air that was otherwise destined for the Flames’ net.

The third pairing of Nikita Zadorov and Stone had some challenges and was responsible for the Sharks’ opening goal after the duo misplayed an exchange behind their own net.

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“Our defence is a work in progress, and if you put Tanny in there it gives you some stability,” said Sutter, exhaling deeply when asked about his blue line.

“It’s a challenge.”

The Flames wrap up their four-game, pre-Christmas road trip Thursday in LA and Friday in Anaheim, with a goal of being a playoff team by the break.

Tuesday’s win leaves them in a three-way two with Edmonton and Colorado for a wild card spot.

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