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FLIP OF THE COIN

Mangiapane scores first goal; Flames fire season-high 47 shots, but fall in a shootout

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

Straighten the sights.

Recalibrate.

Put it behind you and go get 'em next time.

What more can be done when a blockade like that is built so forcefully downrange?

The talk surrounding the Flames leading up to Saturday's Hockey Day tilt centered on 'bearing down,' 'capitalizing on their chances,' and any number of the superlatives that arise from a high-volume-but-low-finish outcome the night prior.

A similar story, this was.

But who can argue with a season-high 47 shots, an altogether dominant 5-on-5 possession game, and nearly twice the number of scoring chances?

It wasn't to be.

Elias Lindholm, Sam Bennett and Andrew Mangiapane (his first NHL goal) all scored for the Flames, but the next one evaded them, and the Canucks took a 4-3 shootout victory, thanks to an incredible goaltending performance by Vancouver's Jacob Markstrom.

David Rittich made 22 stops in a losing cause for the visitors.

Video: "We had some good looks. We'll look at it"

"There aren't a lot of big changes to be made," said head coach Bill Peters, pleased with the effort. "The powerplay needed to get one there. We had a carry-over (powerplay) early in the third, and then we had a double minor later on. … We needed to get one there.

The powerplay finished the night 0-for-5.

The Flames outshot the Canucks 34-13 in the final two periods and came close in OT when Mark Giordano rang a far-side try off the bar, but Markstrom sealed the victory by stopping all three shooters in the tiebreaker.

"He made some big saves," Giordano said. "Right to the final buzzer, we were getting looks in tight. I thought in any game where you put up that many shots and get some looks, you're not too disappointed - but disappointed we didn't get the extra point."

Video: CGY Recap: Flames earn a point in 4-3 shootout loss

With the OTL, the Flames' record falls to 34-15-6 on the year. They now have a one-point lead on the San Jose Sharks for first in the Pacific, with a game in hand.

"You want to stay with it when you're on the ice, and you don't want to grip your stick too tight," veteran Travis Hamonic said of the numerous offensive chances. ""We've got a lot of guys with a ton of skill that have put up some extremely high numbers so far this year, so we trust our guys, we trust our system and our skill level. You're going to have those games when it just seems like you can't get that extra one. We had some looks but just couldn't get over the hill tonight. And when it goes to a shootout, it can go either way, right?"

The homeside struck for the game's opening goal off a set play just 44 seconds into the contest. Chris Tanev made a great pass into the middle and connected with a wide-open Bo Horvat at the left hash. Horvat made no mistake, firing it over the blocker to give Vancouver a 1-0 lead.

But the Flames - who carried the play and had eight of the first 10 shots in the front half of the period - leveled the score in a hurry. Sean Monahan jumped on a loose puck off the end boards and found Lindholm uncovered in front. No. 28 took the centering pass and leaned into a wrister from just a few feet out, beating Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom five-hole at 6:39.

Johnny Gaudreau counted the other assist.

Video: CGY@VAN: Lindholm rips a quick shot past Markstrom

But back came the Canucks, and Josh Leivo gave them a 2-1 lead as part of a 7-0 run in shots at 12:58. Rookie phenom Elias Pettersson made a fabulous play to spring Leivo in the neutral zone, and the winger did the rest, entering with speed and slinging a shot through the wickets to give him goals in back-to-back games.

The Flames evened things up for the second time in the period as Bennett picked up his 10th of the year with a gritty finish in front just 37 seconds later. Markstrom bobbled a James Neal shot and tried to punch out the rebound with his blocker, but failed to do so. Bennett - on the second effort, and with the goalie draped all over him - bladed the fluttering puck with scarcely enough gusto to have it arc slowly over the goal line.

Gaudreau had a chance to put the Flames ahead with a breakaway in the final 10 seconds of the period, but Markstrom made a calm stick save to keep it a 2-2 game after 20 minutes.

The Flames were all over the Canucks in the second, recording 13 of the first 14 shots and finally grabbing their first lead of the night with an absolute beauty. The puck was turned over at the blueline, allowing Noah Hanifin to snatch it, move it down to the top of the circles and feed Mangiapane with a pretty pass across the hash marks. Mangiapane put all of his 5-foot-10, 184 lb. frame into the one-timer, beating Markstrom with one of the prettiest first goals you'll ever see.

Video: CGY@VAN: Mangiapane rips one-timer for first NHL goal

Mangiapane said the 27-game wait (17 this year) was well worth it for a memory like that.

"My mentality going into it was to just keep practicing and working hard and eventually it will come," he said. "It's nice to get that out of the way. If you just keep working hard, good things will happen."

Unfortunately for the Flames, the lead didn't last - and that proved costly. Boeser took an incredible Pettersson setup at the edge of the right dot and screamed it past Rittich to make it a 3-3 game soon after at 15:11.

The Flames tied a season high with 20 shots in the middle frame, but left in a 3-3 tie.

"That's the period, for me, that we need to come out with the lead," Peters said. "We had some good looks. We'll look at it, take some of the positives out of it and move on to Florida."

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