July 14th, 2024

Flames snap four-game skid by beating Bolts 4-2

By Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press on December 16, 2023.

Tampa Bay Lightning centre Steven Stamkos (91) tries to defend against Calgary Flames centre Dillon Dube (29) after losing his stick during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary on Saturday Dec. 16, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal

CALGARY – Yegor Sharangovich scored for the fifth consecutive game as the Calgary Flames snapped a four-game winless skid on Saturday with a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

A.J. Greer, MacKenzie Weegar, and Connor Zary also scored for Calgary (12-14-5). Defenceman Jordan Oesterle had the lone multi-point game with two assists.

The Flames were back home after a disappointing 0-1-2 road trip through Colorado, Vegas and Minnesota in which they blew third-period leads in all three games.

Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos scored for Tampa Bay (14-13-5), while NHL scoring leader Nikita Kucherov chipped in with a pair of helpers. The Lightning went 2-3-0 on their five-game road trip.

Dan Vladar had 31 stops to get the win and improve to 5-4-2. The Czech was making his second straight start with Jacob Markstrom (fractured finger) still sidelined.

Andrei Vasilevskiy had 22 saves to fall to 5-5-0.

After a scoreless first period, Calgary erupted for three goals in the opening seven minutes of the second.

Greer got the barrage started at 2:30 picking the top corner on Vasilevskiy’s glove side from just inside the top of the faceoff circle.

At 6:17, Weegar made it 2-0 ripping a slap shot through a crowd that clattered just inside the far goalpost.

Weegar’s eighth goal ties him for second in goals by a defenceman, one back of leader Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks.

Just 43 seconds after that and with the crowd at the Scotiabank Saddledome still buzzing after Weegar’s goal, Sharangovich showed off a lethal one-timer blasting Jordan Oesterle’s centring pass past the besieged Lightning goaltender.

With six goals during his career-best five-game streak, Sharangovich is up to 11 on the season, which leads the team. The right-winger was acquired from New Jersey in the summer in a trade that sent Tyler Toffoli to the Devils.

His goal streak matches the longest goal streak for a player in his first year with the Flames, tying Kent Nilsson (1980-81) and Joe Mullen (1985-86).

Tampa Bay finally solved Vladar at 4:10 of the third period when Kucherov was first to a puck along the end boards and zipped a pass to an uncovered Point in front, who scored his 14th goal.

Ninety seconds, Stamkos ripped his 15th goal past Vladar to draw the visitors to within one.

But quashing the comeback bid at 11:42 was Zary on a brilliant individual effort. Picking up the puck inside his own blue line, the rookie skated down the left wing and despite having Brandon Hagel draped all over him, squeezed a shot past Vasilevskiy from a sharp angle.

HEDMAN BACK

Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman (upper body) returned after missing the past two games. He played alongside Nick Perbix.

NEARING A RETURN

Calgary is on the brink of getting two key veterans back. Both G Jacob Markstrom (fractured finger), sidelined for the past six games, and D Chris Tanev (upper body), who missed his third game, skated on Saturday and coach Ryan Huska says they could return on Monday.

CAREER BESTS

Two Flames equalled personal bests for goals and both did it in less than half the number of games. Weegar’s eighth goal equals his output with the Florida Panthers in 80 games last season. Greer’s fifth goal in his 30th game tied his output with the Boston Bruins in 61 games last season.

UP NEXT

Lightning: Open a brief two-game homestand on Tuesday against the St. Louis Blue.

Flames: Host the Florida Panthers on Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 16, 2023.

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