CALGARY – For the second time in five days, Sean Monahan scored the game-deciding goal in a shootout to lead the Calgary Flames to victory.
After scoring in the eighth round on Monday to earn Calgary a 5-4 shootout win on the road over the Winnipeg Jets, Monahan duplicated that feat in the sixth round on Friday at home as the Flames edged the Florida Panthers 4-3.
“We’ve got to dig deep,” said Monahan, who has eight goals and six assists in 23 games so far in his rookie season with the Flames. “We’re trying to do whatever we can to get points right now. It feels good. We want wins. I guess putting those in helped the team get some wins.”
Monahan snapped a hard shot just inside the far post over the right pad of Florida goalie Tim Thomas to earn Calgary the win.
“Just kind of outwaiting the goalie and shooting hard,” said Monahan of the key to his success in the shootout. “It’s something I tried to do and it worked.”
Joe Colborne had a goal and an assist in regulation for his first multiple-point game with the Flames (8-11-4) since being acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs in the off-season for a fourth round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.
“It’s nice just to get a few wins in here and lighten the mood a bit,” said Colborne, who also scored on Wednesday during Calgary’s 2-1 overtime loss at home to the Columbus Blue Jackets. “We have obviously a very proud group in here. It’s nice to have some music going in the dressing room and some guys who are smiling again. It’s just a big team win.”
Sven Baertschi and Blair Jones also scored for the Flames, who have now collected points in three straight games going 2-0-1 in that span.
Playing in his sixth straight game in net for the Flames, Reto Berra stopped 23 shots to improve his record to 3-4-2 in his first NHL season. Berra also stopped Florida forward Nick Bjugstad in the sixth round of the shootout to preserve the victory after Monahan scored.
Tom Gilbert, Jimmy Hayes and Marcel Goc scored for the Panthers (6-13-5), who finished up their five-game road trip with a 2-2-1 record.
“I’ve got to be real proud of the way the guys reacted,” said Florida coach Peter Horachek. “Good road trip. From that standpoint, going .500 and all tough games, I think that’s really positive.”
Thomas, who played in his eighth straight game for the Panthers, finished with 21 saves.
“We showed a lot of character and a lot of good things, which we’ve done in the past and we did it again,” said Thomas, who was hoping to outduel Berra in the shootout after the Panthers rallied from a 3-1 deficit with two goals in the third period. “When I see the team responding and stepping up like that I want them to get the two points.”
Neither team mustered a shot on net until 5:41 of the first period when Thomas easily stopped and smothered a point blast off the stick of Calgary defenceman Chris Butler.
The Panthers took a 1-0 lead at 15:14 of the first on Gilbert’s first goal of the season. Bjugstad won the faceoff back to Gilbert, who let go a shot from the point through traffic that fooled Berra and found the back of the net.
At the nine-minute mark of the second period, Colborne scored his third of the season to pull the Flames even. Lance Bouma did a good job of forechecking to force Florida defenceman Mike Mottau to turn the puck over. The puck bounced off of Calgary forward David Jones right to Colborne, who wired a perfect shot from the slot into the top corner over the outstretched glove of Thomas.
“It was more of a reaction,” Colborne said. “When you get a puck in that area, you don’t have much time and I just got it on my stick and tried to get it in the top corner.”
Baertschi then broke out of a 15-game goal-less drought when he scored a power-play goal at 12:04 of the second to put the Flames up 2-1. Thomas gave up a big rebound of a point shot by T.J. Brodie that was tipped by Colborne and the puck bounced right to Baertschi, who swatted it into the back of the net.
Jones gave Calgary a 3-1 lead at 5:40 of the third when he converted a feed from Bouma for his first goal in his first game of the season with the Flames.
Just 82 seconds later, Hayes took advantage of a turnover by Berra to score his first of the season to pull the Panthers within a goal. Berra ventured out of his net in an attempt to poke check the puck away from Florida forward Shawn Matthias, but it went right to Hayes, who shot it into a wide-open net.
Goc scored at 14:01 of the third to force overtime when he outwaited Berra before snapping a shot that snuck under the Calgary goalie’s left arm and into the net.
“They seem to respond every time,” Horachek said. “We wanted to come back out in the third and do what we have to do and they scored and (we) didn’t drop their heads.”
Notes: Prior to being recalled from the AHL on Thursday, Blair Jones put up eight goals and 13 assists for a team-leading 21 points in 16 games with the Abbotsford Heat.…T.J. Galiardi, who has gone 20 games without scoring a goal, was a healthy scratch for the Flames.…It was the fifth consecutive game for the Flames against a team that had played the night before.…Calgary has been in 14 one-goal games this season going 7-3-4.