Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Gaudreau, Tkachuk Have Four Points Apiece to Lead Flames over Sharks

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Gaudreau, Tkachuk Have Four Points Apiece to Lead Flames over Sharks

Article excerpt

Gaudreau, Tkachuk lead Flames over Sharks

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Calgary tightened its grip on top spot in the Pacific Division on Monday night thanks to big nights from its best players.

Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each scored twice and added two assists and Sean Monahan had five helpers to lift the Flames to a thrilling 8-5 win over the San Jose Sharks.

Monahan's five-point night was a career high while Gaudreau and Tkachuk tied career bests.

"I was happy with the way our team played," said Gaudreau. "It was going back and forth and back and forth for a little, but found a way to take it over in the third and get a big team win."

Joonas Donskoi's second of the night, 48 seconds into the third, drew the Sharks back to within a goal at 5-4, but Calgary restored a two-goal cushion just over two minutes later on the first goal in 25 games for Neal.

Neal's fourth of the season and first goal since Nov. 1 was a lucky one. Sam Bennett patiently circled the Sharks end with the puck before firing it across the slot and banking it in off Neal's skate.

"Great play by Benny and it felt good to see it go in," said Neal, who hit a goal post in the second period. "As of late, when you're getting shots and you're getting back into your groove, I think it's visible, as a player and spectators watching, I think you can see my game start to get going a little bit more. It was a nice break."

Goals 41 seconds apart from Gaudreau -- his 20th and 21st of the season -- made it 8-4 shortly after to put the game away.

Calgary never trailed. Mikael Backlund scored 1:10 into the game and after Lukas Radil tied it, Backlund's second of the night at 10:55 gave the Flames the lead again.

"Our first line is contributing and driving the bus, but a lot of guys chipped in today and that was big for the team, too," Backlund said.

Elias Lindholm set a career-high with his 18th goal, and also added two assists, to round out the scoring for Calgary (24-12-4). …

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