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Flames down Habs, slice deficit for playoff spot

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Sean Monahan’s early third-period goal was the winner and capped a three-point game as the host Calgary Flames claimed a crucial 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Friday.

Calgary’s Dillon Dube, Andrew Mangiapane and Elias Lindholm added single markers. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 18 saves in a win that puts the fifth-place Flames (20-23-3, 43 points) six points back of the fourth-place Canadiens (20-16-9, 49 points) in the North Division.

Monahan netted his 45th career game-winning goal — the third most in franchise history — 5:58 into the final frame. Johnny Gaudreau sent a perfect pass to an unchecked Monahan, who made no mistake.

Lindholm added an empty-netter with eight seconds left to seal the deal.

Markstrom has a 5-1-0 record against Montreal this season, having surrendered only seven goals in those contests.

Tyler Toffoli and Joel Armia scored for Montreal, which received a 27-save performance from goalie Jake Allen.

The clubs meet again Saturday and Monday in Calgary. The Flames have won five of the seven clashes this season.

Both clubs earned and then surrendered a first-period lead.

Dube opened the scoring just past the six-minute mark to snap a 14-game goal drought. Mangiapane sent a seeing-eye pass to Dube as he headed to the net, and Dube buried the chance.

Toffoli evened the score when he gained the puck at center ice, worked to the high slot and wired a shot for his 23rd goal of the season at the 13:19 mark.

Armia’s quick shot off a faceoff won by Phil Danault hit the mark with 96 seconds remaining in the opening frame to put the Canadiens ahead.

However, Mangiapane’s power-play tally, a nifty deflection, tied the score at 2-2 exactly one minute later.

Prior to the game, Flames forward Josh Leivo was added to the NHL’s COVID protocol list. Leivo practiced fully with the team on Thursday.

Montreal forward Jonathan Drouin was a late scratch due to a non-COVID illness, a decision made after he took part in the warmup, so both teams opted to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen.

–Field Level Media

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