CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano celebrated his 800th NHL game in style.
Giordano had two goals and an assist and the Flames defeated the Arizona Coyotes 7-1 Sunday night.
“Whenever you’re playing in a milestone game, you want to win it, first and foremost,” Flames coach Bill Peters said. “When you win it and you’re plus-five with three points, that’s something you can tell your kids and they’re going to look it up and hey, it wasn’t a lie. Good for him.”
Giordano, the Flames’ captain, has 47 points (nine goals, 38 assists) in 45 games this season, second among NHL defensemen and five points behind San Jose’s Brent Burns.
“It felt good,” Giordano said. “Big win for the team. It felt like we had good puck control, good movement, especially in the first and third.”
Matthew Tkachuk scored two goals, and Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett also scored for Calgary, which has won five straight and improved to 8-1-1 in its last 10. The Flames lead the Pacific Division by three points over the Sharks.
Gaudreau also had an assist, extending his point streak to eight games (eight goals, 10 assists). With 69 points, he ranks second in the league in scoring, six points back of Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov.
Jordan Oesterle scored for Arizona, which had its three-game winning streak halted.
Mike Smith got the start in the nets for Calgary in place of red-hot David Rittich. He made 22 saves and improved to 13-9-1.
Adin Hill had 19 saves for the Coyotes and fell to 7-5.
Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet was not happy with his club’s performance.
“We’re playing a first-place team and we can’t have four or five guys on the outside, looking in,” Tocchet said. “We had four guys that weren’t good tonight and Calgary smelt it after the first period.”
Calgary surged in front on two goals 68 seconds apart late in the first period.
At 16:51, Giordano got the puck in the corner and fired a shot into the top corner from a sharp angle.
“Just a real smart, cagey guy, he shows some patience, letting the screen develop and then all of a sudden, it’s on and off his stick at the right time,” Peters said.
Then Monahan was left alone in the slot and he converted Gaudreau’s pass from behind the net.
After Tkachuk’s goal 1:36 into the second period, Gaudreau scored at 17:20 to make it 4-0. Michael Frolik’s shot was stopped, but Monahan slid the rebound over to Gaudreau and he was left with an empty net.
Oesterle scored a power-play goal for Arizona, but that was erased when Tkachuk scored his second at 4:20. Less than two minutes later, Giordano added his second.
“One of the best captains I’ve played for, for sure, over my career,” Smith said. “The way he competes on the ice, the way he practices, is just the epitome of being a true professional.
“Unbelievable guy off the ice to be around, too. I’ve been here a short time, but it doesn’t take you long to figure out what kind of person he is and what kind of leader he is. Eight hundred games in this league playing the way he does says a lot about the person he is and the player he is. He deserves it.”
Calgary D Travis Hamonic (family illness) was a late scratch. He was replaced by Dalton Prout. ... Arizona’s Conor Garland had his four-game, goal-scoring streak snapped. ... The Flames improve to 22-3-0 in games they score first. ... Calgary has a league-best plus-38 goal differential in the third period.
Coyotes: Host San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.
Flames: Host Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.