The four-goal loss was the worst of the 23-game Paul Maurice era and was hard to watch.
In the first period, Dillion Dube scored shorthanded on a 2-on-1 break, former Panther Jonathan Huberdeau potted a rebound goal from close range on a power play, and Rasmus Andersson fired a short-side shot past a beleaguered Sergei Bobrovsky at 12:03 after another juicy rebound as the Flames built a 3-0 lead.
The Cats sort of got back in it when Nick Cousins deflected Gustav Forsling’s pass by Dan Vladar, second assist to Aaron Ekblad, at the 9:54 mark of second period. Cousins presented Forsling with a target and he hit it, giving Cousins his third of the season.
Unfortunately, the Panthers went back down by three 5:35 later when Bobrovsky surrendered a bad-angle goal to Nick Ritchie after the puck thumped off the back boards after MacKenzie Weegar took a pass from Trevor Lewis and cranked a slap shot wide. Awful...
Sam Reinhart responded quickly by knocking down a high pass from Anton Lundell while crossing the blue line and then snapping a shot by Vladar from just above the right circle 86 seconds after Ritchie’s marker.
The Flames would finish 86-ing the Panthers by tacking on two more goals in the third.
After getting denied by Bobrovsky on a breakaway, Huberdeau outworked Forsling and Carter Verhaeghe for the puck below the goal line after Elias Lindholm whacked it off Verhaeghe’s blade and fed back into the slot for Tyler Toffoli, who pounded it by Bobrovsky.
Noah Hanifin would send Andrew Mangiapane and Dube away on a 2-on-0 break to complete the scoring with 1:06 remaining. The pair skated in on Bobrovsky with Mangiapane passing to Dube, who went back to Mangiapane for the sizzling forehand finish.
Clad in their black alternates with the flaming horse head, Calgary was ruthless in dispatching a disengaged, mistake-prone Florida squad by scoring a half dozen times on just 23 shots. Not only was this the Panthers biggest margin of defeat, it was probably the worst they’ve looked via eye test over the first 23 games. Special teams were again an issue as the Cats gave up both a power-play and shorthanded goal while going 0 for 4 with the man-advantage. The Flames dominated on faceoffs. Florida, who have lost six of seven (1-3-3), finished up against the NHL’s two Alberta-based teams 0-2-2. Double season-series sweeps on consecutive nights? Yikes... On to Vancouver.
Tinder & Ash
- Jonathan Huberdeau’s goal and an assist earned him First Star honors. Huberdeau logged 16:26 of ice time and finished with three shots on goal and a cross-checking minor.
- Five other Flames posted multi-point performances in the rout. They were Dillion Dube (1G/2A), Andrew Mangiapane (1G/1A), Tyler Toffoli (1G/1A), Rasmus Andersson (1G/1A) and Noah Hanifin (2A).
- Matthew Tkachuk was held off the score sheet in his return to the Scotiabank Saddledome. Florida’s leading scorer put three shots on Dan Vlader, who finished with 31 saves, and led the team’s forwards in ice time (21:50).
- Aaron Ekblad extended his point streak to five games (3G/4A) with his 200th NHL assist. Sam Reinhart and Anton Lundell now have points if four straight games.
- Former Panther MacKenzie Weegar’s second period assist was the 100th of his NHL career.
- For more on Calgary’s blasting of Florida, light it up, up, up at Matchsticks and Gasoline.