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Hanifin and Jankowski have two-goal efforts; Smith stops 28

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick /

GLENDALE - The Flames walked into the Den like thieves on the prowl.

They were not going to be denied.

Turns out, a one-game respite was all that was needed to rediscover their filthy, offensive firepower.

Noah Hanifin and Mark Jankowski led the way with two goals each, while TJ Brodie and Sean Monahan added singles in a 6-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena.

The Coyotes entered the night with a league-leading 10 shorthanded goals, but the Flames turned the tables, notching three of their six goals while on the penalty kill.

Former Arizona puck-stopper Mike Smith returned to his old haunts and was excellent with 28 saves.

"I thought it was a good effort all the way around," said head coach Bill Peters. "I thought we bounced back (well) from the first game on our trip. I thought we got contributions from all over the lineup. ... Good way to end the trip."

The Flames got the ball rolling at 7:27, as the top line went to work and Monahan tallied his team-leading 13th of the season. Johnny Gaudreau made it all possible, stationing himself in Gretzky's office and delivering a beautiful backhand centering pass to Monahan at the edge of the circle. No. 23 made no mistake, eluding cover and cracking a one-timer over the glove hand of the netminder.

The visitors opened up a two-goal lead with a hard-working shorthanded effort at 16:21. Hanifin started the play by keeping the puck in with an aggressive pinch at the blueline, before taking it wide and feathering a pass intended for Garnet Hathaway in the blue paint. The cross-crease try banked in off the stick of the netminder, crawling ever-so-slowly across the goal line to give young blueliner his first goal as a Flame.

Hathaway did not record a point on a play, but it was his belligerence on the PK that led to the Hanifin tally, and a strong kill of a too-many-men penalty earlier in the period.

"It's been a while since I scored one, so it was nice to get that off my back," Hanifin said.

"If you have a chance to make something happen, do it.

"We had a good start. We progressed as the game went on. We started to play faster and faster, and Smitty played awesome in net for us. He made some huge saves and played the puck super well. He made it easy for us as defenceman."

Smith wasn't overly busy, but he did come up with a massive stop early in the second period to keep the Flames up by a deuce. The speedy Nick Cousins broke in along and tried to go high, glove side, but Smith held his ground, smothering the shot and leaving no trace of a rebound.

At the other end, the second powerplay unit peppered Raanta with a barrage of Grade A chances and finally, at 8:34, they beat him clean. James Neal's try from the slot drifted wide and off the end glass, but Hanifin slammed home the rebound from a sharp angle to record his second of the afternoon.

In doing so, Hanifin became just the third defenceman in franchise history to score a powerplay goal and a shorthanded goal in the same game.

"I thought in Vegas we got jammed up in the neutral zone and we couldn't get any offence going off the forecheck," Neal said. "It was something we practiced yesterday and I thought we were better at it tonight. We were quick; we were turning pucks over."

Elias Lindholm was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down on a breakaway near the 10-minute mark of the period, but Raanta made a big blocker save to keep it a three-goal game.

But for only so long.

Jankowski finished off a nifty, three-way passing play between himself, Dillon Dube and Brodie at 11:25, and the rout was on.

"The biggest thing were our stands at the line," Jankowski said. "We were really tight with their (zone) entries, created some turnovers and we got to go the other way pretty quickly.

"A good defence leads to offence, right there."

Brodie and Jankowski added shorthanded markers on the same Arizona powerplay early in the third - the latter going 1-on-5 and bowling his way to the net, relatively untouched - and Clayton Keller potted one late to snap Smith's shutout bid.  

Peters credited a hard practice on Saturday to the Flames' bounce-back effort, saying they were able to work on and correct some things that led to Friday's loss in Vegas.

"We've got a good group," Peters said. "When we have time to practice and work on things, we get better. It sets up real well. We've been playing every other day for a while now and now we've got a day off, before we get another practice and then have two at home.

"Our schedule's been very good and we've got to continue to take advantage of it."


A reminder of how quick (and dangerous) the game can be: Peters left the game early in the second after being struck in the face by a Brad Richardson clearing attempt. He was hurriedly helped off by the team's medical personnel, but returned to the bench late in the frame sporting a zipper on his chin.

That's one tough Alberta boy.

"I think it's going to hurt more tomorrow," he said. "It's one of those things. Not a lot of room out there and you've got to be paying attention."

With the assist on Hanifin's second goal, Neal tallied his 500th career point, and is the fifth player from the 2005 draft class to achieve that milestone, joining Sidney Crosby, Anze Kopitar, Paul Stastny and Bobby Ryan.

"It feels good. It's taken a little longer than I would have liked, but it was nice to see Hanny bury that one," he said. "It feels good. It's been a great career so far."

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