Flames edge Devils, win seventh straight
Increase lead in Pacific; Mueller taken off on stretcher for New Jerseyby Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer
NEWARK, N.J. -- The Calgary Flames won their seventh straight game, 2-1 against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Wednesday.
Calgary (41-16-7) leads the Western Conference and the Pacific Division, where it is seven points ahead of the second-place San Jose Sharks.
"I think we are playing our best away from the puck," Flames coach Bill Peters said. "I think we can make some more plays with the puck and be more direct to the net, but we're playing well right now. We have a high-character group. They know how to play, how to play with the lead, and they know how to get the job done going into the third."
[WATCH: All Flames vs. Devils highlights]
Mark Giordano scored for the Flames in the second period to become the fourth defenseman in NHL history age 35 or older to score 60 points in a season. He joined Nicklas Lidstrom, Al MacInnis and Sergei Zubov (based on each player being 35 or older the first day of the season).
Giordano skated into the slot and deked goalie Mackenzie Blackwood to give Calgary a 2-0 lead at 13:52.
"I was thinking shot the whole way and he took everything away so, desperation at the end, you go by instincts and [I] took it to my backhand and it worked out for sure," said Giordano, who has 14 goals and 46 assists.
Kevin Rooney scored, and Blackwood made 33 saves for the Devils (25-31-8).
New Jersey defenseman Mirco Mueller was taken off on a stretcher at 1:09 of the third period after crashing headfirst into the end boards. Mueller was taken to University Hospital in Newark, and coach John Hynes said after the game that he was feeling fine.
Video: CGY@NJD: Mueller leaves with injury in 3rd
"Mirco is fully conscious and all of his extremities are moving fine," he said. "There are no issues. Mentally he was fine. He sat up before he left the arena for the hospital, and had full awareness of what was going on."
Rooney said, "I didn't really see how he went down but it looked awkward from the bench and obviously [was] a really scary situation. I never heard an NHL building that quiet before, and you even saw it on the faces of the Calgary players. They were really cared. No one wants to see a player go down like that. I've never been a part of a game where something like that happened."
Elias Lindholm scored, Johnny Gaudreau had two assists, and David Rittich made 19 saves for the Flames, who have outscored opponents 23-12 during their streak.
Video: CGY@NJD: Lindholm's pass ricochets in for a PPG
"I think a lot of guys on our team are having great offensive seasons because of the amount of goals we're scoring," Giordano said. "The way we play, we're really aggressive but for me it's the same. I try to come in and honestly do my job defensively and it starts from there."
Rooney scored shorthanded to pull the Devils within 2-1 when he stole the puck from Gaudreau in the right face-off circle and beat Rittich with a snap shot at 16:47 of the second period.
"I saw him coming around the net there and wanted to get up ice and didn't want to give him time and space with the puck," Rooney said. "I just had a good angle on him and was lucky enough to strip him and put it in."
Video: CGY@NJD: Rooney steals the puck, scores SHG
Lindholm scored a power-play goal when his pass from the left face-off circle deflected off the skate of Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen to make it 1-0 at 1:07 of the second.
"We're winning so that's good, but overall I think we can play better," Lindholm said. "It's going to be tighter and tighter in the upcoming weeks, so we'll have to play better as the weeks go on."
They said it
"Giordano is a high-end player, with high-end character, and just a warrior. He will battle in there and he's battling on pucks. Just a complete player. He is a player our young guys should watch and learn from because he is special the way he goes about his business." -- Flames coach Bill Peters
"I don't want to sound unsympathetic but we had to move on real quick there (after Mueller's injury). You're trying to battle it, though, because you feel bad for your friend, thinking about him the whole time. But at the same time you just have to wait and see what happens and play hard for him and go from there." -- Devils captain Andy Greene
Need to know
The Flames went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill and are 13-for-13 in their past five games. ... Gaudreau, born in Salem, New Jersey, has 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in nine games against the Devils. ... The Devils haven't scored a power-play goal in their past five games (0-for-13) after scoring at least one in each of their previous five. … Vatanen played 22:12 and had three blocked shots in his return to the lineup after missing 14 games with a concussion. … Defenseman Oscar Fantenberg made his Flames debut. He had five hits and one shot in 14:19. Fantenberg was traded from the Los Angeles Kings on Monday. … Lidstrom scored 60 points at age 35 or older in 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2010-11; MacInnis did it in 1998-99 and 2002-03; and Zubov in 2005-06.
Flames: Host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, SN360, SN1, CITY, FS-N, NHL.TV)
Devils: Host the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+ 2, NBCSP, NHL.TV)