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Calgary collects 10th straight victory with 4-3 shootout win over Pittsburgh

by TY PILSON @typilson /

Make it 10 in a row!

The Flames tied the franchise mark of 10 wins that was set by the Atlanta Flames back in 1978 with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins last night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Brian Elliott made 32 saves in regulation and stopped Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel in the shootout as he improved to 13-1-1 in his last 15 starts.

Kris Versteeg scored the lone shootout marker for Calgary in a case of déjà vu. He also scored the winning shootout goal for the Flames in the previous meeting between the two clubs this season, a 3-2 win at the PPG Paints Arena back on Feb. 7.

Video: PIT@CGY: Versteeg roofs backhand for shootout goal

Deryk Engelland, Dennis Wideman and Johnny Gaudreau scored in regulation for the Flames while Conor Sheary, Malkin and Crosby answered for the visitors.

Gaudreau put Calgary up 3-2 in the third when he skated the puck up on the powerplay from inside his own blueline, deked around Penguins winger Tom Kuhnhackl and then turned defenceman Ron Hainsey inside out as he streaked down the left wing. He held the puck as if he was going to shoot, freezing Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for a moment while Gaudreau swung around behind the net to wrap it into the empty cage.

Gaudreau, who has been on as big of a tear as his team of late, now has five goals and 20 points in his last 18 games.

Video: PIT@CGY: Gaudreau sneaks wraparound past Fleury

But with 3:31 left in the period, Crosby tied the game on a controversial goal. He made contact with Elliott as the puck went in but after a review by the refs, the goal stood.

In overtime, Flames captain Mark Giordano took a two-minute slashing penalty with just 2:22 left in the frame leading to a 4-on-3 for Pittsburgh. However, the Flames penalty-kill answered the bell and Elliott made a game-saving stop on Crosby at the side of the net midway through the extra-man advantage to force the shootout.

It was the Penguins who opened the scoring on the night less than three minutes into the game when Crosby got his first point of the tilt after he gathered the puck to Elliott's right, passed to Jake Guentzel behind the net who then fed Conor Sheary on the doorstep for an easy tap-in.

Engelland smacked a shot from the right point that slipped by Fleury to get the Flames on the board at the 13:48 mark. The goal was originally credited to Matt Stajan who appeared to tip it in but that was later overturned. Alex Chiasson collected an assist on the play, his 100th career point, while Stajan also got a helper.

Video: PIT@CGY: Wideman scores off a fortuitous deflection

Just 2:03 later, Malkin collected his 33rd goal of the year by converting on the powerplay, finishing a give-and-go with Chris Kunitz by tipping the puck by Elliott.

The Pens outshot the Flames 12-10 over the first 20 minutes.

Wideman tied the game up in the second with a ping-pong point shot that Pens forward Nick Bonino tried to glove down in the high slot but instead deflected it off Pittsburgh defenceman Ron Hainsey's side and into the net.

NOTES: Matt Stajan needs just one point to reach 400 on his career … Mikael Backlund tallied the winner in Saturday's victory over the Jets for his second game-winning goal in Calgary's last four games. It also matched his career-high for goals (21) in a season, set his new standard for points (48) in a campaign and extended the most GWGs he's had in a year to seven … The Flames have a 18-11-1-0 record versus the Eastern Conference this season and they are 7-7-1-0 against the Metropolitan Division … Matt Bartkowski played his first career NHL game against Pittsburgh on Jan. 10, 2011 while a member of the Boston Bruins.

UP NEXT: Brad Marchand the Boston Bruins visit the Dome Wednesday night (7 p.m., SNW, SN960)

 Video: PIT@CGY: Elliott seals SO win with pad save on Kessel


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