Monahan scores twice, Flames beat Panthers 5-1
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Sean Monahan scored twice for the first time this season and the slumping Calgary Flames beat the NHL-leading Florida Panthers 5-1 Tuesday night.
Rasmus Andersson got his first goal of the season, Matthew Tkachuk and Blake Coleman also scored and Johnny Gaudreau had four assists for Calgary. The Flames snapped a four-game skid and won on home ice for the first time since Nov. 29. They were 2-7-1 in their past 10 games.
“When the puck goes in, you get some more confidence in your game and you want to continue that,” said Monahan, a three-time 30-goal scorer, who entered the night having only scored four times. “Obviously, I want to produce and I’ve got to keep working at that.”
Jacob Markstrom had 28 saves for Calgary. He had given up at least four goals in his previous five starts.
Sam Bennett scored for Florida, which ended a four-game winning streak and a nine-game points streak (8-0-1). Spencer Knight stopped 26 shots filling in for Sergei Bobrovsky.
“Didn’t really come prepared to play here early. That’s on me,” Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette said. “We weren’t prepared to pay the price tonight. It’s going to happen, games like this.”
Monahan deflected in a power-play goal at 16:03 of the second period to make it 3-1, then put it away at 6:43 of the third off a drop pass from Gaudreau. Monahan beat Knight on a move in close to make it 5-1.
Tkachuk said that Monahan, who has often been the target of fan scorn, plays a bigger role than fans realize.
“He does a lot of little things that most people don’t notice,” he said. “He’s really solid for us on the power play. We’re out there the most with him and he’s great on draws, great recovering pucks. He’s a big time threat that opens up some stuff for the rest of us.”
Calgary got a power play four minutes into the game and needed just 23 seconds to take advantage, with Andersson knocking in his own rebound from the slot.
The Flames extended their lead to 2-0 at 11:36 of the first. A stretch of prolonged pressure by Calgary’s newly formed second line culminated in Coleman’s seventh goal, the assists going to his linemates Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund.
Bennett scored 12:36 into the second to cut Florida’s deficit in half. Bennett was traded to Florida ahead of the trade deadline last season after logging 402 games with Calgary over six seasons. He’s been a revelation since joining the Panthers, scoring 22 goals in 40 games.
The power play was key for the Flames, striking twice on three opportunities after entering the game 0 for 10 during the losing streak.
Gaudreau had his first four-assist game on home ice and just the second of his career. Tkachuk also kept his offensive hot streak going with three points. He has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) over his last eight games.
NOTES: Gaudreau’s only other four-assist game was in Nashville on Feb. 21, 2017. … It was the first time this season Florida did not get a point from a defenseman. … Mason Marchment returned to the Panthers lineup for the first time since Jan. 1. An assist gives him a five-game point streak.
Panthers: Play at Edmonton on Thursday.
Flames: Play at Edmonton on Saturday.
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