Sean Monahan scores in third, Flames edge Capitals 2-1
|Report an Error|
Share via Email
CALGARY — Sean Monahan knows where to go when Johnny Gaudreau has the puck.
Monahan converted Gaudreau's pass for the winner 9:09 into the third period Sunday night as the Calgary Flames broke a four-game home losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals.
After not finding anyone open as he carried the puck towards the net, Gaudreau curled back at the face-off dot and tried again, this time spotting Monahan alone at the far post. All the Flames' leading goal scorer had to do was slide in his sixth of the year.
"That's Johnny. We see it day-in, day-out. He's got great hands and he's got quick feet. He reads the game better than anyone I know," said Monahan. "If you get open in a quiet area you're usually going to find the puck."
It was the 12th assist for Gaudreau, which ties him for third in the NHL behind Steven Stamkos (17) and Jakub Voracek (14). He leads the Flames with 15 points.
The other member of the No. 1 line, Michael Ferland, had the other goal,
"I felt like we had the puck a lot tonight," said Ferland. "As the game went on, I felt more comfortable out there, the game felt like it was getting slower."
In his best game of the season, Ferland also had a game-high five shots and a game-high seven hits.
"Outstanding," Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan said, describing his power forward. "He was physical when he could be physical. Sometimes it's hard to be physical when you have the puck all night and you're making plays and you're in on the forecheck and playing with the puck. He did a little bit of everything for us."
Calgary (6-6-0) improves to 1-1-0 on a seven-game homestand, which continues on Thursday when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit.
Jakub Vrana scored for Washington (5-6-1). The Capitals finish 1-2-0 on their three-game road trip through Western Canada.
The win came Saturday night in Edmonton, but playing on back-to-back nights was not something Vrana would use as an excuse.
"We can't complain about that, every team has to play back-to-backs," he said. "It's just that we made some mistakes out there today."
Still trying to find their Presidents' Trophy form from a year ago, the Capitals are back in action Thursday when they host the New York Islanders.
"That's a huge loss for us. At least we have to take one point today, but we didn't," said Evgeny Kuznetsov.
The Flames took a 1-0 lead into the third period, before Washington tied it at 4:19 when TJ Brodie's outlet pass hit the linesman. Shortly after, Vrana fired a shot that slipped under the glove of Mike Smith.
But that was the only puck to elude Smith, who was making his league-leading 11th start. Acquired in the off-season in a trade with Arizona, Smith has been the Flames best player all season and he was excellent again against the Capitals.
Smith improved his season save percentage to .931.
With Braden Holtby getting the night off after beating Edmonton 5-2 on Saturday, Philipp Grubauer made his fourth start and finished with 36 stops including a glove save on Mark Giordano on a third-period 4-on-1.
"We gave up a lot of chances, but also we created a lot of chances. I think overall it was a decent game for us," said Grubauer. "Things are coming together and the groove is coming together a little bit closer and closer each game and I think you see it on the ice."
Notes: Jaromir Jagr (lower body) is eligible to come off the IR and he's back skating with the team, but he missed his fourth straight game... Sam Bennett has yet to record a point in Calgary's 12 games... The Flames made two lineup changes with Kulak and RW Curtis Lazar drawing in. It was just the third game for Kulak.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Gaudreau had 14 points