Markstrom backstops Canucks to win over Flames
CALGARY, Alberta — Jacob Markstrom was grateful for the scoring support and his teammates were grateful he had a great night.
The Vancouver Canucks’ big Swedish netminder frustrated the Calgary Flames on Tuesday with 29 saves in a strong performance, and his teammates outscored their hosts 5-3.
“He was phenomenal tonight,” Canucks center Bo Horvat said of Markstrom. “He made keys saves at the right times. He stopped everything he saw tonight. He’s been playing unbelievable all year, and he had another big game tonight.”
After the game was tied 3-3 heading to the second intermission, Horvat and Henrik Sedin scored 38 seconds apart early in the third period. Sam Gagner, Thomas Vanek and Derek Dorsett had the earlier goals for Vancouver.
Dougie Hamilton, Johnny Gaudreau and Micheal Ferland replied for Calgary.
Horvat swiped in a loose puck from the edge of the crease on the power play at 4:12 of the third. On the next shift, Henrik Sedin converted a pass from his brother Daniel on a two-on-one to double Vancouver’s lead.
The Canucks (8-5-2) rebounded from a Monday night home loss against the Detroit Red Wings. The Tuesday win started a four-game road trip that takes Vancouver through three California cities, beginning with a contest against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.
“It definitely wasn’t our best game,” Horvat said. “It wasn’t like we dominated 60 minutes, but we scored at the right time and made big plays at the right time to clear pucks, and obviously Marky made some big saves.”
Markstrom just cared about the result.
“If we can win 1-0, 2-1 every game, that would be great too,” the goalie said. “All I care about is winning hockey games. If we do that 5-3 or 9-8, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Calgary (8-7-0) lost after posting three consecutive home wins.
Mike Smith stopped 16 shots for the Flames.
Gaudreau scored once, but Markstrom robbed him several times. The Flames’ leading scorer had five shots and said he should have had at least three goals.
“When we get our chances, we’ve got to find the net, starting with myself,” Gaudreau said. “I had a lot of Grade-A chances and didn’t find the net. I can be better.”
The Canucks scored first on the power play at 15:38 of the opening period. Daniel Sedin found Gagner in the slot, and Gagne had two cracks at beating Smith after his first shot hit Hamilton and came back to his feet.
With 11 seconds remaining in the first, Hamilton snuck in from the point, took a pass from Mikael Backlund and flipped the puck past Markstrom’s glove on the power play.
The Flames scored again on the power play to take the lead at 11:51 of the second. Gaudreau’s wrist shot from the top of the circle hit defensemen Erik Gudbranson and redirected into the net through a crowd.
Vanek, who was playing his 900th career game, came off the bench during a change, took a cross-ice pass from Michael Del Zotto and blasted a slap shot past Smith at 15:09 of the second to tie the game 2-2.
“We tried to battle,” Vanek said. “I think sometimes the battle got a little dumb, but Marky bailed us out a lot. At the same time, we scored some timely goals.”
Ferland’s wraparound gave the Flames a 3-2 lead with 2:33 remaining in the middle period.
With 1:20 left in the second, Vancouver’s Brandon Sutter outskated TJ Brodie to a loose puck during a penalty kill and fed it out front, where it hit Dorsett in the knee pad and went in.
“It was one of those games that I thought we had some good chances that didn’t go in at certain points in the game that could have been the difference,” Brodie said.
“It’s a learning experience. To make the playoffs, we need to learn how to win these games, especially being tied going into the third.”
NOTES: The Flames got Jaromir Jagr back in the lineup after the NHL’s second-leading career point-getter was sidelined six games with a groin injury. ... Jagr’s return meant LW Tanner Glass was sent down to AHL Stockton. Glass, a seven-year NHL veteran, has zero points in seven games with the Flames this season. ... Canucks C Markus Granlund was out because of an upper-body injury sustained Monday night against Detroit. He is expected to miss one or two games, Vancouver coach Travis Green said. ... C Brendan Gaunce played his first game of the season in Granlund’s place. ... LW Reid Boucher was recalled by the Canucks from AHL Utica but did not dress. Vancouver also scratched D Patrick Wiercioch. ... C Matt Stajan, C Freddie Hamilton and D Rasmus Andersson were healthy scratches for Calgary.