Flames beat Oilers 4-2 with two third-period goals from Elias Lindholm
Elias Lindholm’s breakout season continued on Saturday night.
The off-season acquisition from the Carolina Hurricanes had a pair of goals, including the winner, as the Calgary Flames scored three times in the third period for a 4-2 comeback victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
The go-ahead goal came at 9:10 when he knocked in his own rebound. He later added an empty netter for his team-leading 11th goal. In his sixth NHL season, his career high of 17 came back in 2014-15.
“He’s a high-end player, he has been his whole life,” Flames coach Bill Peters said about Lindholm, who was drafted fifth overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, one spot ahead of linemate Sean Monahan. “Takes face-offs, kills penalties, can play 4-on-4, plays on the power play. He touches the game in a lot of different areas.”
It’s the NHL-leading sixth time the Flames have come back to win a game in which they’ve trailed after two periods.
“A lot of times we play unreal in the third, but you don’t want to chase the game too much,” Lindholm said. “It’s not going to work all the time to be down before the third. It’s something we need to work on.”
The Flames were down 2-0 when Derek Ryan ended a 14-game scoring drought with his second of the season at 16:23 of the second period.
Calgary tied it 2:40 into the third when Monahan rattled home a rebound off a Travis Hamonic shot.
Standing tall in net for Calgary was David Rittich. Included in his 24 stops were three breakaways — two from Leon Draisaitl and one by Jujhar Khaira. He improved to 6-1-0.
“It’s my job. It’s a great feeling, but that’s why I’m in the net, making saves,” said Rittich.
With Mike Smith struggling, Rittich delivered the type of quality start that Calgary needed, having dropped three of its previous four games.
“He was huge. There were a couple breakaways and odd-man rushes. He made some big stops. When that happens it makes you want to go hard,” said Monahan.
Calgary (11-8-1) continues its homestand on Monday night when it plays host to Vegas.
Connor McDavid, with his 11th, and former Flame Alex Chiasson scored for Edmonton (9-9-1), which has lost five of its last six. The Oilers return home, where they will play Vegas on Sunday night.
“It felt like we ran out of gas, a little bit. We spent the whole third in our own zone,” said Mikko Koskinen, who had 33 saves to fall to 4-2-0.
Squandered chances to increase their lead came back to haunt the Oilers.
“We had an opportunity to go ahead two or three and that may have changed the game, on some of the breakaways, but their goaltender played well,” said Oilers coach Todd McLellan.
The Oilers head coach also alluded to his team taking too many penalties early as being a key factor.
“Our first two periods set them up well in the third,” McLellan said.
“Too many penalties. Their top players didn’t have to play a lot of hard minutes. They were on the power play the whole first two (periods), so by the time you get to the third, they have some gas left in their tanks and they certainly took it to us.”
It was a physical game, especially in the early going. With Mikael Backlund and McDavid wrestling around at one point. Sam Bennett and Darnell Nurse squared off after Bennett, on the first shift of the game, rocked the Oilers defenceman with a heavy hit. Matthew Tkachuk was in the middle of the action, being jumped by Zack Kassian late in the first period.
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