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Mangiapane hot at home with Olympic dream on hold

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There was a sneaking suspicion Andrew Mangiapane would be an impact player while the Olympics were taking place. But the thought was he might be in Beijing. Instead, he’s lighting it up with the Calgary Flames.

With the NHL making up games cancelled because of COVID instead of watching its players in the men’s hockey tournament in China, Mangiapane is taking his game to another level.

His impressive totals on the road this season have been dwarfed by his lack of success on home ice. But that paltry shooting percentage at the Saddledome through the first half seems to be a thing of the past.

With his 24th goal of season on Saturday night in a 5-2 win over the New York Islanders, Mangiapane ran his streak to three straight. He’s scored in every game since the all-star break – four in three games – and has five in his last five. They’ve come against top opponents, too. They beat the Vegas Golden Knights and then the Toronto Maple Leafs on back-to-back nights.

“I’ve been given more opportunities this year to play my game and be consistent,” Mangiapane said earlier this week. “I always want to go out there and give it my all every game and be the hardest-working player on the ice. That’s my attitude going into every game.”

It’s working.

It just took a little longer at home.

Mangiapane on pace for more than 40 goals

Maybe that’s because there were so few chances to get established on home ice with their season interrupted by Omicron after a road-heavy start. Or maybe it was just an odd anomaly. But it was something worth noting.

Mangiapane has 20 goals away from the Dome this season. He has his quintupled his home totals in the last three games alone, with his only previous goal in front of friendly fans coming Nov. 9 against the San Jose Sharks.

“Mange hadn’t been himself at home compared to on the road,” said Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter after Saturday’s win. “Now he’s being a little more assertive at home.”

The contributions from guys not named Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm are critical to the Calgary Flames’ goal of winning the Pacific Division and making some serious noise in the playoffs.

On Saturday, Mangiapane was joined on the scoresheet by Lindholm, defencemen Chris Tanev and Erik Gudbranson, and rookie centre Adam Ruzicka.

Mangiapane is part of a second line that has sprung to life collectively. That includes Blake Coleman and the man known as Second-Half Backs – Mikael Backlund. Another Olympic hopeful having tremendous success as the international tournament goes on without him.

“It’s tough,” Mangiapane said after the announcement was made earlier this year. “It is tough for all of Canada and every person that was wanting to go to the Olympics. It’s tough from that aspect of it but I understand, given what’s going on in today’s world.

“I didn’t know if I was going to make it or what-not, but just to have the opportunity was nice.”

He has new opportunities ahead of him. A Stanley Cup run would go a long way in helping him forget about the Winter Games.

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