CALGARY — Led by Noah Hanifin, Calgary's defence went on the offence on Thursday leading the red-hot Flames to a fifth straight victory.
Hanifin had a goal an assist and fellow blueliners Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson also scored as Calgary erupted for four goals in the second period in a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tied 1-1 in the second, the go-ahead goal at 13:03 came when Andersson carried the puck into the corner before zipping a pass across the top of the crease to his defence partner, Hanifin, who steered it past Jack Campbell.
“We don't want to be down there taking unnecessary risks, but if the opportunity is there, everyone can skate on the back end everyone can move and get into the play,” said Hanifin.
Thirty-two seconds later, it was Hanifin's turn to be the playmaker. With William Nylander in the penalty box for interference, Mikael Backlund won the ensuing faceoff back to Hanifin, who sent a pass over to Kylington and his 40-foot slapshot found the back of the net.
At 15:54 with the half-capacity Saddledome still buzzing, Calgary made it 4-1 with Elias Lindholm picking the corner after receiving a drop pass from Johnny Gaudreau.
“Once we get the first one, it felt like we're rolling and we're rolling and we're rolling,” said Andersson. “They take a time out after the third one and we go out and score the fourth one and then the fifth one.”
By the time the second period ended, Calgary had a 4-1 lead, despite being outshot 32-20. The final shots were 48-26.
Jacob Markstrom made his 11th straight start for the Flames and coming off a 6-0 shutout over Vegas on Wednesday, he was excellent once again to improve to 19-10-5.
One of Markstrom's 18 stops in a scoreless first period was a superb pad stop off Mitch Marner after he was set up neatly at the top of the crease on a centring pass from Morgan Rielly.
It was one of a game-high 10 shots on goal for Marner, who had his eight-game goal and point-streak snapped. He had piled up 19 points over that span (10 goals, nine assists).
"It's a long year. There's going to be games like this, games we feel good and disappointed with the result,” said Campbell, whose record falls to 21-7-3. “But you learn from it and be ready to go the next game so that's what we're going to do."
Andrew Mangiapane also scored for Calgary (25-13-6). The Flames have also started to heat up on home ice having won five consecutive games at the Scotiabank Saddledome and outscoring the opposition 24-4.
Calgary has five games remaining on a seven-game homestand that will continue on Saturday night when the New York Islanders are in town.
“We've got to build up the swagger and I think this was a good start,” said Andersson. “A few other guys have talked about this being a real tough place to come play and that's what we've just got to keep doing for teams that come in and make it a really tough and long night for the opponents."
Rasmus Sandin and Michael Bunting scored for Toronto (30-11-3), which had its six-game winning streak snapped. Auston Matthews had an assist to extend his point streak to six games (six goals, seven assists).
The Leafs were kicking off a three-game road trip that sees them next play in Vancouver on Saturday.
"Obviously we've been doing a lot of good things. We've been winning a lot of hockey games,” said Leafs captain John Tavares. “These are the games and the opportunities and challenges that we have to really embrace and have to have growth and push through and find a way.”
The Leafs went with only 11 forwards due to Wayne Simmonds being back in Toronto for personal reasons. Toronto then went down to 10 forwards when Ondrej Kase was levelled by a heavy open-ice hit from 6-foot-6 defenceman Nikita Zadorov who caught him with a shoulder.
Kase remained down briefly before leaving the ice on his own, but he went straight to the Leafs dressing room and did not return. There was no penalty on the play.
"It's a violent hit. Puck is gone. I think any time you see a guy get hit in the head, helmet flying, all that kind of stuff, in my opinion it should be an automatic.” said Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe. “Trying to get those hits out of the game that injure players like that. Those things happen in a game, unfortunately. I thought there should've been a call. Ref saw it differently.”
Notes: Toronto's No. 1 ranked power play went 0-for-3. The Flames were 1-for-5... Flames RW Brett Ritchie has yet to pick up a point in 23 games.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2022.