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Flames claim historic victory with 5-2 win over Islanders



Calgary Flames Jacob Markstrom

It was a hockey game, not a concert, that officially opened the UBS Arena in New York. But M&M headlined it (Yes, I realize that’s not how you spell the artist’s moniker). The Calgary Flames beat the New York Islanders 5-2 in their new home thanks to Jacob Markstrom and Andrew Mangiapane.

It’s a team game, of course, but Markstrom’s 34 saves and Mangiapane’s 12th and 13th road goals this season – including the game-winner – allowed the Flames to gain and hang onto the lead through the final 20 minutes.

Brad Richardson is the answer to the trivia question who scored first at UBS Arena, taking advantage of an ugly turnover in the Isles end to give the Flames a 1-0 lead 4:05 into the game.

Icing things with empty netters from Trevor Lewis – his first as a Flame – and Johnny Gaudreau, the Flames ran their road trip record up to 3-1-2. They finish off the seven-game trek against the Bruins in Boston.

“That was a blast of a game,” defenceman Noah Hanifin said on Sportsnet 960 after the game. “We kind of had this one circled in the calendar the whole road trip. We played a real solid game.”

Markstrom faced heavy workload in first and third frames for Calgary Flames

Markstrom faced 27 shots in the first and third periods. In the early going, it was a lack of discipline setting the Islanders up for success with the Flames serving four minor penalties. In the third period, they looked like a team at the end of its sixth game on the road in nine nights.

“We’re just trying to hang in there. It’s a long trip,” Sutter said of the fatigue setting in for his squad.

Added to that is the physical style the Isles play.

“It takes a toll on some guys. I think it showed in the third,” Sutter said.

Mangiapane took a beating from massive Islanders defenceman Zdeno Chara. But the price he paid for going to the net didn’t stop him from deflecting two pucks past netminder Semyon Varlamov to give the Flames 2-0 and 3-1 leads in the first and second periods.

It was the 25-year-old’s second straight game with two goals and he’s got seven in his last seven overall. And with 14 in total, he currently sits second in the league behind Edmonton Oilers sniper Leon Draisaitl in the Rocket Richard Trophy race and leads the NHL with 13 away from home.

“He’s just hot right now,” said Hanifin, who had three assists and was the shooter on both Mangiapane’s tips. “He’s such a good player. He has a real good touch around the net.”

So does Markstrom, who has seven wins in regulation this season and has allowed just three goals in those games. He has a .942 save percentage (.959% at five-on-five) and a league-leading five shutouts.

It’s possible Calgary Flames backup Dan Vladar gets the start on Sunday against the team that drafted him. But don’t rule out Markstrom after his performance on Saturday.

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