SUNRISE, Fla. – Mike Cammalleri seems to be in the middle of most of the Calgary Flames’ victories lately.
Cammalleri scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period and the Flames beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 Friday night. Cammalleri has scored the game winning goal in six of the Flames’ last seven victories.
Cammalleri broke a 1-1 tie at 6:09 of the second. Jiri Hudler brought the puck from behind the net and passed across to Cammalleri in front. His wrist shot that found the net for his team-leading 26th goal and 500th NHL point.
“It’s special to reach certain benchmarks like that,” Cammalleri said. “Whenever something like that happens, it gives you a second to reflect and appreciate what we get to do and all the people that have helped you. But I?think my best hockey is ahead of me, so I look forward to many more.”
Kenny Agostino also scored for Calgary and Joey MacDonald stopped 34 shots.
Vincent Trocheck scored for the Panthers, and Roberto Luongo made 15 saves.
Luongo started his first game since March 27th against Carolina when he left after the first period following a collision with the Hurricanes’ Radek Dvorak. Luongo sustained a mild concussion and missed three games.
“A win would have been nice but I thought the effort was there, the boys played really hard, we carried the play most of the night. You’ve got to give their goalie credit, he played well and made some big saves,” Luongo said. “We just couldn’t get that equalizer.”
The Flames won their second straight and fifth in their last eight. They picked up their pace in the second period, then withstood a 17-shot barrage by Florida in the period.
“We promised our fans and we even promised ourselves that we would play the games to win until the final second of the regular season, and I just felt in the first period we were going through the motions,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. “That’s not the identity, that’s not the culture that we want to create. So I?just thought that it was unacceptable and I?politely let them know.”
The Panthers have lost five straight and eight of nine.
All of the scoring took place in about 4 1/2 minutes of the second period. Calgary took just six shots in the period but scored twice.
The Flames took a 1-0 lead on Agostino’s wrist shot from the left circle that got past Luongo at 1:34. It was Agostino’s first NHL goal, and came in his fifth game. He was acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh for Jarome Iginla on March 27.
“It was kind of a broken play and the puck just came to me,” Agostino said. “Unforgettable feeling when it went in.”
The Panthers tied it less than a minute later on a power-play goal by Trocheck. MacDonald blocked a shot by Jimmy Hayes but the puck bounced out into the slot. Trocheck was there for the rebound and beat MacDonald on the stick side at 2:21 for his 4th goal since being recalled from AHL San Antonio on March 5th.
“Hayes had a nice shot, low pad, the rebound just bounced out into the slot,” Trocheck said. “Luckily I was right there and put it home.”
NOTES: Luongo celebrated his 35th birthday by playing in his 800th NHL game. … Panthers F Brandon Pirri has 10 points in the last 14 games. … Panthers F Brad Boyes missed the game with a sore back. … Cammalleri has 19 points in his last 14 games. … Hudler leads the Flames with 50 points (16 goals, 34 assists) in 71 games.