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Johnny Gaudreau, Micheal Ferland and Mark Jankowski each had a goal and an assist as the Calgary Flames had five different goal-scorers in a 5-1 victory over the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night in Tampa, Fla.
Making the night even worse for the Lightning was losing defenseman Victor Hedman due to a lower-body injury midway through the second period. Hedman, one of the NHL’s best blue-liners, collided with Calgary forward Garnet Hathaway as they went to play the puck, and Hedman’s left leg twisted awkwardly.
Mike Smith was sensational in Calgary’s net for the first half of the game in his 33-save performance at Amalie Arena, including a penalty shot stop on Cedric Paquette. However, the real key was the opportunistic offensive surge by a Flames team that has won five straight and jumped into a playoff spot.
With the pace both teams maintain, it was to be expected goals could come fast and furious. They certainly kicked off each period.
Ferland scored for the fourth straight game just 29 seconds into the affair, converting Sean Monahan’s pass on an odd-man rush with a perfect one-timer that beat Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy on the first shot he faced.
The second period started just as quickly with Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point tallied just 31 seconds into the frame, but it was all Flames after Hedman was injured.
Gaudreau, with his first goal in 11 games, and Sam Bennett scored two minutes apart late in the second period, and then Jankowski and Matthew Tkachuk rounded out the scoring with third-period markers.
The Flames face the Florida Panthers on Friday in the third game of their four-clash road swing.
Vasilevskiy stopped 19 shots for the Lightning, who lost in regulation time on home ice for just the fourth time this season. Tampa Bay returns to action Jan. 18 against the Vegas Golden Knights.
--Field Level Media