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Flames take a wild one, beating the visiting Devils 5-4 in a shootout

by TY PILSON @typilson /

Matthew Tkachuk is quickly becoming Matthew Tka-clutch.

The sophomore sensation scored the shootout winner to give the Flames a 5-4 victory over the New Jersey Devils Sunday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Tkachuk made a beautiful play and then dished the game-winning pass to Mark Giordano in the Flames 2-1 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the club's previous outing.

Calgary has now won three straight at home.

It was also a busy night for the Mikes.

Michael Frolik scored his second goal of the season, shorthanded to boot, while Michael Stone and Micheal Ferland also tallied for the homeside.

Mike Smith made 26 saves, many of them of the jaw-dropping variety.

Sean Monahan had the other marker for the Flames - and scored in the shootout.

Johnny Gaudreau picked up two assists on the night and now sits tied for fourth in NHL scoring.

Taylor Hall, Ben Lovejoy, Brian Gibbons and Andy Greene scored for the Devils, while Keith Kinkaid made 30 stops.

The Devils came into the game as one of the hottest clubs in the NHL, going 5-1-0 away from home to start the season.

An early turnover led to the game's first goal 1:34 into the opening frame, when Smith made a save on a shot by Nico Hischier, who had stripped the puck at his own blueline and skated in, but the rebound sprang out to a wide open Hall who had an empty net to snap the puck into.

With Brett Kulak in the box for holding, Frolik managed to swat the puck out of Calgary's zone and Mikael Backlund won a foot race for it, eventually passing to Frolik who fired it past Kinkaid five-hole.

Ferland was awarded a penalty shot at the 6:45 mark of the first but Kinkaid was able to get his right pad out to stop the puck and keep the game knotted at one.

Late in the frame, Sam Bennett was sprung on a breakaway as he left the penalty box but Kinkaid stopped his initial shot and a second whack he got at the rebound.

The Devils scored their second goal less than two minutes into the second period on a similar looking play to their first tally, with Hischier letting a shot fly from the left faceoff circle as he streaked in which Smith stopped but the rebound went to Lovejoy and he, too, had a yawning cage to fire the puck into.

Stone tied the game up at the 8:49 when he unleashed a howitzer from the point that beat a screened Kinkaid high, blocker side.

Video: Flames top Devils in SO, 5-4, for third straight win

Kris Versteeg put in some hard work along the boards to make the play happen and get the puck to Stone.

Monahan made it 3-2 when he took a Ferland pass in the slot and snapped it home for his team-leading eighth goal of the year.

However, just 10 seconds later Smith's attempt to rim the puck around the boards was corralled by Gibbons who wired it past Smith as he rushed to get back in his net.

Ferland got another crack at Kinkaid after a nifty pass from Gaudreau in tight and made good 6:54 into the third.

Greene made it a tie game again when he fired a shot from the halfboards outside the left faceoff circle that found space short-side past Smith.

Miles Wood was awarded the second penalty shot of the night with 6:06 left to play after the ref ruled Matt Bartkowski had interfered with him but he flipped the puck over the net with a backhand after he did the skate in from centre.


Sunday's game was also the annual Hockey Fights Cancer night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Six children from the Alberta Children's Hospital who are battling the disease took part in a pre-game ceremony, including Smith's three-year-old niece Elle.

In a sign of class and respect, the Flames faithful gave Devils defenceman Brian Boyle a standing ovation as part of the ceremony. Boyle returned to the Devils lineup Nov. 1 against Vancouver after missing time to battle chronic myeloid leukemia, which he was diagnosed with back in September during training camp.   

The Flames are supporting the league-wide initiative with proceeds from both the Calgary Flames Foundation 50-50 raffle sales and Hockey Fights Cancer apparel available in FanAttic stores during November, going to Hockey Fights Cancer. Last season, the Calgary Flames Foundation's 50-50 proceeds directed more than $25,000 to the cause, and more than $150,000 since 2012


These two clubs will meet once more this season, on Feb. 8 at the Prudential Center. That will be the second tilt of a six-game, 11-day road trip for the Flames … Jaromir Jagr sat out his sixth game Sunday as he continues to battle back from a lower-body injury. Travis Hamonic also sat out with a lower-body injury of his own … Talk about a youth movement. The Devils have eight players on their roster that are 23 years old or younger. New Jersey also has a league-high 14 American players on the team.


The Flames host the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night (7 p.m., TV: Sportsnet West, Radio: Sportsnet960 The FAN). Come down early from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. for Hockey Happy Hour and enjoy food, drink and merchandise specials. You can get a 14 oz. domestic draught, 1 oz. highball, 6 oz. house wine, a cheeseburger or a pizza slice for just $5 each. As well, take an additional 10% of all regular-priced Fanattic merchandise.

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