Sharangovich shines as Flames rally to burn Penguins 4-3

Calgary celebrated the retirement of Miikka Kiprusoff’s No. 34 in style on Saturday night with a stirring comeback victory.

Yegor Sharangovich scored two goals, including the game-winner with 50 seconds left in the third period, as the Flames overcame a two-goal deficit with 10 minutes to go for a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“Everybody’s really happy for Kipper and his family and it’s really cool to see how much support he received tonight and how much he meant to the city and to honour him with a win is special,” said Blake Coleman, who scored the tying goal.

Down 3-1 midway through the third and being outshot by a considerable margin, Calgary suddenly woke up, tying it on goals 32 seconds apart.

At 10:09 in a highlight-reel individual effort, Nazem Kadri picked up the puck inside his own blue line, slipped the puck through the skates of Noel Acciari as he carried the puck up ice, then he made a slick move to dangle past Kris Letang before pulling the puck all the way across the crease and burying it behind Tristan Jarry to make it 3-2.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s a SportsCentre top-10 goal and it’s something that electrified the building and the crowd, it was good tonight to begin with, obviously, with the big night for Kipper, and that goal just blew the roof off,” said Coleman, whose team-leading 25th goal came just 32 seconds later.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

On the go-ahead goal, Mikael Backlund stripped the puck from Letang along the sideboards and as he took the puck to the middle, he dropped it to Sharangovich, who picked the top corner for his 23rd goal.

“ (Sharangovich) was pressuring the one D and I was hoping he was going to give it to the other D and I just jumped him,” said Backlund. “I didn’t know who I actually passed it to, I just saw two red guys behind me and I dropped it and a very nice finish.”

Despite trading away key veterans on expiring contracts such as Elias Lindholm and most recently, Chris Tanev, Calgary (30-25-5) has won a season-high five consecutive games to climb within five points of the Los Angeles Kings, who occupy the Western Conference’s second wild-card playoff berth.

“We’ve got a bunch of guys in here that refuse to go down (without) swinging and that’s a great mentality to have,” said Kadri. “Everybody understands we’re still in the hunt. We’re giving ourselves every opportunity possible. Even if there’s a sliver of hope, we’ll take that and we’ll run with it.”

Story continues below advertisement

While the trades by general manager Craig Conroy is a signal that the team is building for the future, the players remain focused on the present.

“We’re not here to pack it in and look to the future. We’ve got guys that have won in here, we’ve got guys that want to win in here, and there’s never going to be any quit in our team,” said Coleman. “As long as we got a breath in us, we’re gonna have that fight.”

Jonathan Gruden, with his first NHL goal, Lars Eller and Jeff Carter scored for Pittsburgh (27-23-8).

With Tampa Bay victorious earlier in the evening, the Penguins fall 10 points back of the Lightning, who currently hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

“We beat ourselves. In a number of different ways,” said Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan. “We had complete control of the game. Played a really good game up until that point and we just made some egregious mistakes and it’s hard to recover from.”

The Penguins have five games in hand, one of which they’ll use Sunday when they are back in action against the Edmonton Oilers.

“We have no choice, we have to keep fighting,” said left-winger Drew O’Connor. “It’s a tough way to end that game. We know how important each game is, and we need a lot of them right now. To lose that one when we’re in control hurts a lot, but we have another one tomorrow we have to get ready for.”

Story continues below advertisement

Flames’ netminder Jacob Markstrom had 27 stops to improve to 21-15-2.

At the other end, Jarry had 16 stops. He falls to 17-19-4.


Sponsored content