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Flames offence explodes for season-high nine goals in come-from-behind win over Blue Jackets

by TY PILSON @typilson /

Down but never out.

It's the unofficial mantra of the 2018-19 edition of the Flames.

And of all the crazy rallies The Comeback Kids have had this season, none was wilder than Tuesday night.

If you closed your eyes for a second, you could have sworn it was 1980-something.

Down 4-1 less than a minute into the second period, the Flames scored five during the middle stanza en route to a 9-6 victory over the Blue Jackets in Columbus.

It was a new high in goals this season for Calgary and the fourth time they have scored five in a period this campaign.

The last time the Flames scored nine was back on Feb. 14, 2011 in a 9-1 win over the Avalanche.

The powerplay went 3-4 in the come-from-behind victory.

Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau each scored a pair, while Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk, Noah Hanifin, TJ Brodie and Austin Czarnik added singles.

The 15 combined goals was a single-game high in the NHL this year.

"This team, it's pretty crazy how often we come back from those leads other teams have," said Hanifin. "It's great."

It was also an early Father's Day present, as they went 3-0 on the team's Dads' Trip, that included a home win against the Kings.

"I'm sure at the start it was a little bit doom and gloom," joked captain Mark Giordano after when asked what he thought the game was like to watch for the dads in their suite. "There was probably a lot of momentum changes in the booth, just like there was in the game. It was great to have them. They weren't bored by any means, that's for sure, tonight."

Cam Atkinson had a hat-trick while Zach Werenski, Josh Anderson and Nick Foligno also tallied for Columbus.

"It was a weird one," said Giordano of the contest. "We don't want too many of those. But, hey, we were down 4-1 in a tough barn to play in (against) a really good team and for us to come out with two points was huge for us tonight.

"We scored the first one, they got four straight and we ended up with five in the second," echoed coach Bill Peters. "You're not gonna see that very often."

David Rittich started for Calgary and made 11 saves on 14 shots before being replaced by Mike Smith to start the second period.

Johnny Hockey - who was especially dangerous early with two shots and a third crack from a good spot that deflected off a stick and missed the net in the first period - opened the scoring at the 6:24 mark.

Travis Hamonic made a great play to get the puck out of the zone and up to Monahan, where he left a drop pass for Gaudreau in the high slot and his winger wired his 11th of the season high glove-side on Bobrovsky.

But then it was three straight for the homeside to round out the opening frame, with Werenski, Anderson and Atkinson - skating in alone and hammering a slapshot from outside the right faceoff circle with 17.8 seconds left - giving the homeside a two-goal cushion after 20 minutes.

Video: Gaudreau, Monahan lead Flames to wild 9-6 win on road

Smith replaced Rittich to start the second period, which began with a wild three-minute run to set the tone.

On the first shot Smith faced, Atkinson got his second of the night with a shot up and under the bar, short-side, 49 seconds into the frame.

Sixty-one seconds later, Brandon Dubinsky was called for hooking on Mark Jankowski. Monahan won the faceoff clean back to Giordano, whose wrister through traffic was tipped by No. 23 just five second into the extra-man advantage.

And just 51 seconds after that, Gaudreau started a play out of the Flames zone, passing up to Monahan, who went to Hamonic, who pulled up at the halfboards near the left faceoff circle and fed it to Lindholm streaking right down the middle of the ice and he wired a wrister high, far-side.

It was his 13th marker of the campaign.

Apparently a lucky number on the night for Calgary.

With Werenski in the box, the Flames put on a clinic in puck control that led to Lindholm firing a shot that Bobrovsky stopped but it fell behind him and Tkachuk swept into the net for his 13th goal of the year.

And then just 50 seconds after that, Tkachuk dug a puck out of the corner to Hanifin who had joined the rush and he put it away.

Before Sportsnet play-by-play man Rick Ball had a chance to catch his breath, Johnny Gaudreau was sprung on a partial breakaway and got two shots off that Bobrovski stopped before Brodie smacked the rebound home just 63 seconds after Tkachuk's tally.

Foligno stopped the bleeding, bringing his team back within one 28 seconds after that. 

But the visitors picked it right back up in the third period, with Monahan scoring his second of the night at 2:15 in on the powerplay.

Gaudreau notched his second at 6:29 which spelt the end of the night for Bobrovsky.

Atkinson later completed his hat-trick and Czarnik notched his second of the year to round out the scoring.

"It seemed like after their fourth goal we sort of decided to start playing and flip the switch," said Giordano. "Our special teams obviously was big tonight. A weird one, ya, but nice to be on the right side of it."

Peters was asked about the Flames never-say-die-attitude.

"I think there's some growth - there's a maturity factor there," he answered. "The guys are maturing, the young guys especially. The leaders do a good job leading and we don't feel like we're ever out of a game.

"We know we can play better. We weren't impressed with ourselves through 20, through 30, through 40 and we just kept getting better each period."

Smith, with a broad smile, summed up the night.

"1980s," he said. "In a good way - because we won the game."



The Flames return to the friendly confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome for a two-game homestand, taking on the Minnesota Wild Thursday (7 p.m.) and the Nashville Predators Saturday (8 p.m.).

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