DOM­I­NA­TION AT THE DOME

Cal­gary’s Matthew Tkachuk cel­e­brates his sec­ond-pe­riod goal in the Flames’ 7-1 win, the team’s fifth straight, over the Ari­zona Coy­otes at the sad­dle­dome on Sun­day.

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - WES GILBERTSON wgilbert­[email protected]­media.com Twit­ter.com/WesGil­bert­son

I worked out later, and my arm got re­ally swollen and kind of pur­ple-y. So we went the next morn­ing, and that’s when they found the clot.

What’s the op­po­site of win­ning ugly?

What­ever you call it, this was it. After string­ing to­gether sev­eral vic­to­ries with­out their best stuff, the Cal­gary Flames proved Sun­day they were lis­ten­ing to those warn­ings from their head coach, de­liv­er­ing a much more com­plete ef­fort in a 7-1 rout of the Ari­zona Coy­otes at the Sad­dle­dome.

The Western Con­fer­ence-lead­ing Flames have now won five in a row and own a su­perb 8-1-1 mark in their past 10 dates.

“We’re con­cerned about our team game and start­ing on time,” stressed bench boss Bill Peters after Sun­day’s morn­ing skate. “That will be a big fo­cus.”

Peters’ posse was ap­par­ently lis­ten­ing.

On this night, their start was much bet­ter.

It was past the mid­way mark of the open­ing stanza be­fore the Flames al­lowed the Coy­otes to even muster a shot on net. By the first in­ter­mis­sion, the hosts were up 2-0.

For­get win­ning ugly. They were en route to win­ning big.

Mark Gior­dano and Matthew Tkachuk each pot­ted a pair Sun­day for the Flames, while Sean Mon­a­han and Johnny Gau­dreau con­nected on a cou­ple of oth­ers.

Each one of those guys also en­joyed multi-point out­ings against the Coy­otes, joined in that club by Mikael Back­lund, TJ Brodie and Michael Fro­lik.

It was also a mem­o­rable evening for Flames call-up An­drew Man­gia­pane, who helped the lo­cals claim an early lead with his first ca­reer count­ing at the bigleague level.

After sweat­ing through 18 NHL ap­pear­ances with­out a sin­gle point, the 22-year-old left-winger forced the Coy­otes to cough up the puck in the neu­tral zone and raced into en­emy ter­ri­tory to start a dou­ble drop-pass — Man­gia­pane to line­mate Derek Ryan, then Ryan to Gior­dano. The cap­tain han­dled the rest, rip­ping a short-side shot for the open­ing strike.

Just 68 sec­onds later, the Flames dou­bled their lead thanks to a fa­mil­iar com­bi­na­tion, Gau­dreau with the setup, Mon­a­han with the snipe.

Gau­dreau had mo­ments ear­lier tried to force a pass through to his BFF on a three-on-two rush and with sug­ges­tions of “Shoooooot!” still echo­ing in the Sad­dle­dome, he set up shop be­hind the net and teed up Mon­a­han for a one-timer from the doorstep.

After Tkachuk padded the cush­ion, the Flames’ dy­namic duo switched roles. For their next lamp-light­ing, Mon­a­han re­trieved a re­bound at the edge of the crease and passed through the blue paint to Gau­dreau for a gimme.

The vis­i­tors put some ink on the score­sheet late in the sec­ond, but the Flames re­ally turned Sun­day’s clash into a land­slide in the fi­nal frame.

Tkachuk scored his sec­ond of the night on a re­di­rect, Gior­dano cranked a slap­per just in­side the post and Sam Ben­nett con­tin­ued to add to the mis­ery for Cal­gar­yraised Coy­otes net­min­der Adin Hill, a grad­u­ate of the Mid­getAAA Buf­faloes and the AJHL’s Canucks.

Now rel­e­gated to backup du­ties after an all-star nod last win­ter, Mike Smith was sharp in a 22-save show­ing in the home crease. He was fooled only by Jor­dan Oesterle, who tal­lied through traf­fic on the power play.

The Flames are back in ac­tion Wed­nes­day, when they wel­come Jack Eichel, Jeff Skin­ner and the Buf­falo Sabres to the Sad­dle­dome (7:30 p.m., Sport­snet One/Sport­snet 960 The Fan).

STONE DEAL­ING WITH BLOOD CLOT

The ini­tial symp­toms seemed in­no­cent enough.

“I woke up that morn­ing feel­ing not-so-good, al­most like I slept funny on my arm,” re­called Cal­gary Flames de­fence­man Michael Stone. “We did the pre-game skate, and I could hardly shoot. I mean, it hurt, but noth­ing that was a big red flag or any­thing like that. But I worked out later, and my arm got re­ally swollen and kind of pur­ple-y.

“So we went the next morn­ing, and that’s when they found the clot.”

That was back in late Novem­ber, and Stone has been side­lined by that blood clot since.

On Sun­day, with his for­mer team — the Ari­zona Coy­otes — in town to clash with his cur­rent crew, the 28-year-old rear­guard missed his 25th con­sec­u­tive con­test on in­jured re­serve.

“It’s been hard, es­pe­cially to have it in the mid­dle of the sea­son,” Stone said. “For the first lit­tle bit, I didn’t feel nor­mal. But now, I’ve been feel­ing nor­mal for quite a while.

“So it’s been dif­fi­cult. But what has helped is at least I can skate. If I wasn’t skat­ing and I was just sit­ting around, I think that would have been worse.”

There is still no timetable for Stone’s re­turn to ac­tion or even to practise with his pals.

Be­cause he is still on blood­thin­ners, he sim­ply can’t risk be­ing clipped by a stick or a puck or any­thing else that might open him up.

Stone is slated for an­other checkup this week. As he summed up, “It’s a wait­ing game for me, it re­ally is.”

Un­til that blood clot is gone, he’ll be skat­ing sep­a­rately with Ju­uso Val­i­maki — the rookie is re­cov­er­ing from a high-an­kle sprain — and watch­ing his Pa­cific Divi­sion-lead­ing team from ei­ther the press box at the Sad­dle­dome or from the com­fort of his couch when they’re on the road.

“Hope­fully, I come back and I can con­trib­ute and be a part of it,” Stone said. “Hope­fully the work that I’ve put in skat­ing-wise and skills-wise and stuff like that, you can see some of the ben­e­fits of it. That’s the goal.

“Hope­fully, at the end of the day, it works out.”

AROUND THE BOARDS

It was an­other mile­stone night for Cal­gary’s cap­tain, as Gior­dano hit the 800-game plateau in Sun­day’s date with the Desert Dogs. The 35-year-old is one of just four play­ers to log that many ap­pear­ances in the Flam­ing C — fel­low de­fence­men Al MacIn­nis (803 GP) and Robyn Regehr (826 GP) and iconic right-winger Jarome Iginla (1,219 GP) are the oth­ers. “I just try not to take it for granted,” Gior­dano said after Sun­day’s morn­ing skate. “I want to play for a long time still. I have a lot of years left, in my mind, and I want to keep play­ing, keep stay­ing fresh” … Flames de­fence­man Travis Ha­monic was a sur­prise scratch against the Coy­otes due to a fam­ily ill­ness … Down on the farm, Stock­ton Heat winger Buddy Robin­son has stretched his per­sonal points spree to 10 straight games. The 27-year-old Robin­son, a long­time friend and for­mer high school team­mate of Flames all-star Johnny Gau­dreau, was called up to the Cal­gary squad shortly be­fore the Christ­mas break but didn’t get in the lineup.

AL CHAREST

AL CHAREST

Cal­gary Flames goal­tender Mike Smith ex­tends the blocker to re­di­rect a shot by Ari­zona Coy­otes for­ward Richard Panik out of harm’s way, one of 22 saves Smith made in a 7-1 vic­tory over his for­mer team dur­ing Sun­day night’s game at the Sco­tia­bank Sad­dle­dome.

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