April 23rd, 2024

Sharangovich shines as Flames rally to burn Penguins 4-3

By Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press on March 2, 2024.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Chad Ruhwedel (2) keeps Calgary Flames forward Andrew Mangiapane (88) away from goalie Tristan Jarry (35) during second period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Saturday, March 2, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY – Yegor Sharangovich scored twice, including the game-winner with 50 seconds left in the third period, as the Calgary Flames rallied from a two-goal, third-period deficit on Saturday for a rousing 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Nazem Kadri and Blake Coleman also scored for Calgary, which has won a season-high five consecutive games.

The Flames (30-25-5) move to within five points of the Los Angeles Kings, who occupy the Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff berth.

Jonathan Gruden, with his first NHL goal, Lars Eller and Jeff Carter scored for Pittsburgh (27-23-8).

With Tampa Bay victorious earlier in the evening, the Penguins fall 10 points back of the Lightning, who currently hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh has five games in hand.

Flames’ netminder Jacob Markstrom had 27 stops to improve to 21-15-2.

At the other end, Tristan Jarry had 16 stops. He falls to 17-19-4.

Down 3-1 midway through the third and being outshot by a considerable margin, Calgary suddenly woke up, tying it on goals 32 seconds apart.

At 10:09 in a highlight-reel individual effort, Kadri picked up the puck inside his own blue line, slipped the puck through the skates of Noel Acciari as he carried the puck up ice, then he made a slick move to dangle past Kris Letang before pulling the puck all the way across the crease and burying it on Jarry.

With the crowd still buzzing, Coleman tied it 3-3, one-timing Andrew Mangiapane’s centring pass for his team-leading 25th goal.

The go-ahead goal with 50 seconds remaining in the third came when Mikael Backlund stripped the puck from Letang along the sideboards and then dropped a pass to Sharangovich, who picked the top corner for his 23rd goal, which is one off his career high.

Down 2-0 after 20 minutes, Calgary cut the deficit in half at 3:37 of the second when Sharangovich poked a loose puck past a flat-footed Letang and got in alone, whipping a low shot through Jarry’s pads.

The visitors restored their two-goal cushion 2:51 into the third period on Carter’s deflection of Ryan Graves’ point shot.

The period was a listless one in which the home side was outshot 14-3 and held without a shot for the final 16-plus minutes.

The opening goal at 16:42 came off the stick of Gruden who chased down a puck near the corner and flung a shot from a sharp angle that squeaked inside the near post on Markstrom.

The first NHL goal for the 23-year-old Gruden came in his ninth career game – sixth of the season – and first game since his most recent call-up on Friday from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) where he’s logged more than 200 games the last four seasons.

Pittsburgh went ahead 2-0 on Eller’s power-play goal in the final minute of the first.

NUMBER 34 RETIRED

Before the game, longtime Flames goaltending great Miikka Kiprusoff had his No. 34 retired – the fourth number raised to the rafters alongside Lanny McDonald’s No. 9, Jarome Iginla’s No. 12, and Mike Vernon’s No. 30. In nine seasons with Calgary starting in 2003-04 – when he was acquired by then-coach and general manager, Darryl Sutter in a trade with San Jose – Kipper led the underdog Flames to the Stanley Cup final. He recorded a team-record 305 wins and 41 shutouts. He won the Vezina in 2005-06.

The stirring 50-minute ceremony that included multiple standing ovations from the boisterous red-clad crowd, featured a colourful speech from longtime teammate Jamie McLennan, a video montage of career highlights, and in Kiprusoff’s emotional address in which he thanked the fans and the organization, he also looked over and singled out Sutter, one of the invited guests seated near the podium, saying, “I can’t thank you enough.”

NEW D PAIRINGS

Without Tanev, Calgary reconfigured its defence pairings with Oliver Kylington promoted into the top-four where he played alongside Rasmus Andersson. Tanev’s old D partner, Noah Hanifin, paired with MacKenzie Weegar. Entering the lineup was Dennis Gilbert, who was a scratch the past 10 games.

UP NEXT

Penguins: Wrap up their road trip on Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers.

Flames: Play host to the Seattle Kraken on Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2024.

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