October 6, 2019 / 5:09 AM / 18 days ago

Rittich perfect in net as Flames blank Canucks

David Rittich stopped 34 shots to record his second career shutout, and Johnny Gaudreau had a three-point night in the Calgary Flames’ home-opening 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

Oct 5, 2019; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; General view of the seats with Calgary Flames scarves prior to the game against the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Czech netminder was particularly strong in the third period as the Canucks outshot Calgary 18-6 but could not score in the chippy first meeting between the Pacific Division teams.

Rittich’s previous shutout was a 21-save blanking of the Kings in Los Angeles last Nov. 10.

Gaudreau tallied an unassisted empty-net goal in the third period and notched assists on the first two goals for his second multi-point game of the young season and 101st of his career.

Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan also netted goals.

Goaltender Jacob Markstrom stopped 27 of 29 shots for the Canucks.

Vancouver, 0-for-4 on the power play in its first game, was 0-for-6 with the man advantage against Calgary.

Both teams lost in their season openers this week in road contests, with Calgary losing 5-3 in Denver to the Colorado Avalanche and Vancouver dropping a 3-2 decision in Edmonton.

In an evenly played first period, each team went 0-for-1 on the power play, but the home side scored the lone marker with a good defensive play by Gaudreau.

Sporting the retro-red uniforms with the yellow-and-white stripes to celebrate their 40th anniversary NHL season in Calgary, the Flames grabbed a 1-0 lead when Gaudreau, forechecking near the left circle, forced a turnover by tipping a pass by Vancouver defenseman Tyler Myers to Lindholm in the opposite circle.

A 27-goal scorer in his first full season with Calgary last year, Lindholm slapped the puck past Markstrom for his first goal at 13:50.

Gaudreau connected with his favorite target — Monahan — streaking through the slot early in the second period, and Monahan chipped in his second goal this season at 1:10 for a 2-0 lead.

Myers, Travis Hamonic and Mark Giordano were involved in a series of hard cross-checks as tempers flared late in the period.

Vancouver had a 61-second 5-on-3 advantage starting at 2:10 of the third, but Calgary rallied around Rittich to thwart the Canucks and protect the shutout.

Both clubs host the Los Angeles Kings next week — Calgary on Tuesday and Vancouver on Wednesday.

—Field Level Media

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