CALGARY — Andrei Kuzmenko scored the lone goal, Spencer Martin stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout and the Vancouver Canucks made it six straight road wins on Wednesday night with a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.
Bo Horvat, Conor Garland and Sheldon Dries scored in regulation for Vancouver (13-13-3).
Martin made 35 saves between regulation and overtime, improving to 9-3-1.
Mikael Backlund, Andrew Mangiapane and Trevor Lewis replied for Calgary (13-11-6). The Flames fell to 6-1-1 in their last eight at the Saddledome.
Jacob Markstrom, who had 24 stops, saw his record drop to 8-7-4.
After Jonathan Huberdeau opened the shootout getting stopped for the first time this season, Kuzmenko put Vancouver on the board with a quick shot over Markstrom’s glove.
Dillon Dube and Backlund both missed the net on the Flames’ next two attempts to seal their fate.
Coming off a three-game road trip in which it failed to pick up a win, the misery continued early for Calgary. The Flames fell behind 2-0 before even registering a shot on goal.
Horvat netted his 21st of the campaign when he deflected Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s point shot past Markstrom 1:14 into the contest.
Thirty-four seconds later, Garland curled out of the corner unchecked and zipped a 25-foot wrist shot into the top corner.
It almost got even worse for Calgary, as winger Brett Ritchie took a penalty shortly after. But a successful penalty kill against the NHL’s best power play since mid-October helped swing the momentum.
The Flames cut the deficit in half at 9:40 of the first when Backlund steered in Dube’s perfectly placed centring pass for a power-play goal.
With 3:51 remaining in the frame, Calgary pulled even with Mangiapane one-timing Nazem Kadri’s centring pass inside the goalpost.
The Flames took their first lead of the contest at 3:51 of the second thanks to Lewis.
Receiving the puck just outside his blue line, he sped through the neutral zone, split the Canucks’ defence pairing, and got a shot on goal from in close. While Martin made the initial save, the rebound went behind the net and in attempting to pass it back out front, Lewis banked it in off Martin’s glove and in.
However, the lead lasted less than two minutes. Nils Hoglander’s terrific pass from the side boards set up Dries in the slot with open ice and he whipped a shot inside the post at 5:31 of the period.
In the third, attempting to take the lead, Dries sent a backhand from in front but it was gloved down by Markstrom as he sprawled on his belly.
Then, Vancouver’s Curtis Lazar was set up on a two-on-one and his dangerous shot squirted through Markstrom’s pads, but slid wide.
In overtime, Markstrom again had to come up big, denying Ilya Mikheyev on a breakaway with a minute remaining.
After a road trip in which Calgary was shorthanded 20 times in three games, the parade to the penalty box continued in the first period. The Canucks went on the power play twice. The Flames have been shorthanded 115 times, which is tied for second-most behind the Edmonton Oilers (116). The St. Louis Blues, have been shorthanded the fewest times at 65.
Flames defenceman MacKenzie Weegar (non-COVID illness) returned after missing one game while defenceman Chris Tanev (upper body) sat out after taking a shot to the side of the head in Montreal on Monday. Calgary also got centre Elias Lindholm (upper body) back after a one-game absence and inserted Ritchie for rookie winger Matthew Phillips. For the Canucks, forward Brock Boeser (non-COVID illness) did not play, which opened up a spot for Dries’ return.
Canucks: Open a three-game homestand against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
Flames: Play host to the St. Louis Blues on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 14, 2022.
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press