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Unlikely Heroes Emerge For Flames In (Another) Comeback Victory over Ducks

The Calgary Flames earned their second straight come-from-behind win after failing to get one all year. The 5-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks keeps their NHL playoff hope alive again.



Talking Calgary Flames with a colleague this weekend, one of the points made was that the team can't keep relying on Tyler Toffoli to score the big goal and keep the season alive. And they were going to have to keep building on their first comeback win of the season in Vancouver. 

On Sunday, after an abysmal start that saw the Flames down a pair of goals to the Anaheim Ducks after the first intermission — including another first-shot goal allowed by Jacob Markstrom — the Calgary hockey club rallied thanks to a handful of players who aren't all known for their clutch scoring prowess. 

Goals from Andrew Mangiapane, who has now hit the halfway mark of his 35 tallies a year ago, defenceman Nikita Zadorov and NHL trade deadline acquisition Nick Ritchie put the Calgary Flames ahead before the midway mark. But the Flames gave up a quick goal — , in what's been another unfortunate calling card during a year of frustration — and then another one to find themselves trailing again with only the final period to play. 

The knowledge of the Winnipeg Jets' massive victory earlier in the evening hung overhead. The Flames needed a win just to keep pace with their Western Conference wildcard prey. Who would step up? 

Fourth-line winger Milan Lucic scored the tying goal. Bottom-pairing blueliner Michael Stone, playing his first game after missing a quarter of the season with a lower-body injury that had him in a walking boot for weeks, blasted a trademark slapshot from the point for the winner in a 5-4 victory over the Ducks to remain two points behind the Jets.

“We expect everybody to perform,” Toffoli told reporters at the Saddledome. “Everybody’s playing hard and it’s obviously really nice to see Looch score a really nice goal, a big goal, and Stoney, as well. We expect everyone to be doing the same thing and it happened tonight.”

The win was their second straight come-from-behind victory after failing to do it all season. It also gave the Calgary Flames their longest winning streak of the year — four games. 

These aren't encouraging facts, but they are keeping the Flames in the hunt, with a big head-to-head meeting with the Jets coming Wednesday evening in Winnipeg. 

“It’s huge,” said Lucic, whose top shelf shot on the rush gave him his seventh of the season. “Being able to come back against a team like Vancouver, which is probably one of the best teams right now, gave us some confidence to go out there and do it again here tonight.

“Every game is do or die and feels like a Game 7, so everybody knows there’s no time for negative energies – just go out there and play the way we can."

Mission accomplished in head coach Darryl Sutter's simple goal of just keeping every game meaningful by earning points. 

“It’s just nice to come back in and contribute,” said Stone, who sparked another big Flames celebration — something we haven't seen too much of this year. 

“When you get the love from the guys, it’s nice.” 

Especially when it comes from a win.