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Calgary Flames win third straight to start season, 3-2 over Vegas Golden Knights

Vegas Golden Knights goalie Logan Thompson, centre, scrambles to block the net as Calgary Flames' Nazem Kadri, left, and Jonathan Huberdeau, third left, chase the puck while Golden Knights' Alex Pietrangelo, second left, defends during second period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY — Grit from their rank and file helped the Calgary Flames overtake the visiting Vegas Golden Knights for a 3-2 win Tuesday.

The tenacity of forwards Brett Ritchie, Milan Lucic, Kevin Rooney, Blake Coleman and Trevor Lewis dragged the Knights into penalty trouble in a second period in which the Flames converted two of six power-play chances to tie the NHL game.

"These guys work really hard," Flames forward Jonathan Huberdeau said. "I think they created so many opportunities and they put us on the power play three or four times in a row in the second. 

"That creates momentum for us and that's how we came back in the game. The first two lines weren't going too well and then these guys came in and gets us going. That's what we're going to need all year."

Mikael Backlund scored the third-period game winner at 15:31 in Calgary's third straight victory to open the season, and kick off an eight-game homestand.

Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli also scored for the hosts in front of 16,944 at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Jacob Markstrom made 19 saves for the win in Calgary's net.

The Flames have so far beaten the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche as well as two clubs expected to challenge Calgary for the Pacific Division title — the Edmonton Oilers and the Knights.

Huberdeau, acquired in an off-season trade with the Florida Panthers, assisted on Calgary's first two goals for his third point in as many games.

Kadri, signed as a free agent in August, had an assist for a goal and three assists in his first three games as a Flame. 

William Carrier and Brett Howden scored their first goals of the season for Vegas (3-1), which sustained its first loss under new head coach Bruce Cassidy.

Knights netminder and Calgarian Logan Thompson stopped 37 of 40 shots in the loss.

"We'll definitely respond," Thompson said. "It's a veteran group here, right? We know what we've got to do. We'll be better, we'll get back to practice and get back to work."

The Flames killed off a pair of hooking minors in the third before Backlund's go-ahead goal. Coleman collected the puck off the glass and dealt it out front to Backlund on Thompson's doorstep.

"Sick pass I thought," Coleman said with a grin. "I just wanted to make sure I made a hard play to the net."

Down 2-0 after the first period, the Flames drew even by 13:19 of the second on power-play goals from Toffoli and Lindholm.

Toffoli corralled a rebound in the slot going backhand to forehand to beat Thompson high stick side.

Lindholm halved the deficit at 10:43 when Thompson juggled Lindholm's shot high into the air.

The Knights' goalie lost sight of the puck falling behind him as teammates Alec Martinez and Alex Pietrangelo tried to bat it away.

The Flames had two consecutive power plays to start the second period. 

Cassidy successfully challenged Lindholm's goal for goalie interference at 4:39. Kadri was down in the crease when Lindholm banged in a rebound.

Vegas led by two at 15:23 of the first period on Howden's knee-high deflection of a Brayden McNabb shot from the blue line. Markstrom mistimed his attempted gloving of Carrier's wrist shot to give the visitors a 1-0 lead at 3:55.


The Knights' goalie was a standout in the loss with 37 saves. The 25-year-old robbed Toffoli in the first period when Thompson dove forward and gloved the puck flying by his ear. In January, Thompson was the first Canadian university goalie to earn an NHL start since 1990. He spent the 2018-19 season with the Brock Badgers. Thompson is 2-1 this season and a career 12-6-3.


Backlund's 168th career goal for the Flames ranks him fifth among franchise centremen one ahead of Joel Otto. … Calgary's Darryl Sutter coached his 1,400th career NHL game Tuesday to tie Pat Quinn for 10th in NHL history. Sutter is the 11th coach to reach that mark (702-503-101-94). … New Knight Phil Kessel's 986th consecutive NHL game was just three back of Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Keith Yandle's "ironman" record set in April. … Huberdeau reached 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in nine career games against the Knights.


Flames: Home to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.

Knights: At Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 18, 2022.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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