Comtois, Grant rally Ducks to 3-1 win over Flames
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Max Comtois and Derek Grant each had a goal and an assist as the Anaheim Ducks rallied to beat the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Friday night.
Brett Leason also scored and John Gibson stopped 34 shots to help the Ducks win for the fifth time in eight games (5-1-2).
“We know this time of year there’s a lot of teams trying to make the push and we’re going to be up against good competition,” said Gibson, who is 4-1-2 in his last seven games. “Whether it’s teams in the playoffs, teams outside of the playoffs, or teams pushing to get into a playoff spot, we know it’s all going to be competitive.”
Mikael Backlund scored for Calgary and Jacob Markstrom finished with 15 saves. The Flames snapped a two-game win streak and lost for the sixth time in eight games (2-4-2).
Calgary remained four points behind Winnipeg for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
“We got to understand that we’re fighting for our lives, and everybody in the room needs to find a way to step up a little bit more,” Flames defenseman MacKenzie Weegar said.
After a scoreless first period, the Flames took a 1-0 lead at 6:43 of the second on a power play when Elias Lindholm’s shot banked in off Backlund in front. It was Backlund’s 15th goal of the season.
It was also Calgary’s first power-play goal in six games after going 0 for 12 over the previous five games.
The lead was short-lived as the Ducks answered back 1:04 later on a deflection of their own. Frank Vatrano whipped a rising shot toward the net that changed directions off Comtois and fooled Markstrom. It was Comtois’ seventh and ended Markstrom’s shutout streak at 98:35.
Leason then put the Ducks ahead with 8:27 left in the middle period as he whacked in a loose puck from the side of the net for his fifth.
The Flames peppered Gibson with 13 shots in the third as they pressed for the tying goal. However, he was perfect, with his best stop coming with less than seven minutes remaining when he snagged a close-in shot off the stick of Tyler Toffoli after the Flames’ leading goal scorer was set up in the slot by Jakob Pelletier.
“He’s probably a top-five, top-three goalie in the league,” Comtois said of Gibson. “He’s always coming up with those big saves and keeping us in it. Even when we play really good teams and teams like today fighting for their lives in a playoff spot, they throw everything at him and he just comes up with the saves.”
In a flurry earlier in the period, Gibson kicked out his left pad to make successive pad stops from in-close on Jonathan Huberdeau and then Nazem Kadri.
“Incredible leader,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “He’s got a fire in him to compete. This year, obviously being in a rebuild, isn’t easy on a guy like that. I think he’s managed his mindset extremely well.”
Calgary fell to 0-16-3 when trailing after two periods. The Flames are the only NHL team without a comeback victory.
“We had a lot of looks, especially in the third,” Flames defenseman Rasmus Anderson said. “We’re dominating the game in the third, and we just can’t get that tying goal or the leading goal so it’s frustrating.”
The Flames snapped an eight-game (7-0-1) point streak against Anaheim that dated back to 2019. It had been their longest active streak against any one opponent.
NEW NO. 1
Gibson’s 13 saves in the first period moved him past Guy Hebert (11,813) and into top spot on the Ducks’ all-time list. Gibson has been busy this season, leading the NHL in saves with 1,516.
Ducks: Host Nashville on Sunday night in the opener of an eight-game homestand.
Flames: Host Ottawa on Sunday night in the finale of a two-game homestand.
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