Mark Giordano, Sam Bennett lead the way as Flames thump Canucks 6-1

VANCOUVER — Mark Giordano scored twice, Sam Bennett had a goal and three assists, and the Calgary Flames snapped a three-game losing streak with a 6-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.

Mark Jankowski added a goal and two assists for Calgary (17-13-3), while Matthew Tkachuk and Micheal Ferland also scored.

Backup goalie David Rittich made 16 saves to pick up his third win in four appearances this season. Dougie Hamilton chipped in with two assists.

Markus Granlund replied for Vancouver (15-15-4). Jacob Markstrom allowed five goals on 19 shots — with four beating him to the stick side — in a forgettable outing before getting replaced by Anders Nilsson to start the third period. Nilsson made 18 saves in relief as the Canucks lost in regulation for the fifth time in six games.

Coming off Saturday’s 2-0 home loss to the Nashville Predators that saw them drop to 0-2-1 over their last three, the Flames opened the scoring at 5:45 of the first period when Bennett shook Jake Virtanen’s check in the corner before feeding a pass in front to Jankowski, who beat Markstrom low to the far post for his sixth goal of the season.

Thomas Vanek had an opportunity with seven minutes left in the period for Vancouver, but he couldn’t control a bouncing puck at the side of the net on a play that resulted in Rittich, who was making just his fifth NHL appearance and got the nod ahead of No. 1 goalie Mike Smith in the second game of a back-to-back, getting penalized for throwing his stick.

The injury-riddled Canucks snapped a four-game losing streak — which included a complete no-show in a 7-1 home loss to Nashville on Wednesday — with Friday’s spirited 4-3 overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks, but were never in this one.

Things went from bad to worse early in the second period when Brock Boeser, who leads the Canucks in both goals (17) and points (30), took a shot from Giordano off his left foot and did not return.

The rookie scoring leader crawled in agony to the bench, and didn’t put any weight on his left leg as he exited to the locker-room at a hushed Rogers Arena.

Vancouver is already without two of its top forwards in Bo Horvat (fractured foot) and Sven Baertschi (broken jaw), defencemen Christopher Tanev (groin strain) and Erik Gudbranson (upper body), as well as checking centre Brandon Sutter (upper body).

Giordano scored his first of the night, and fifth of the year, at 3:56 of the second with the teams playing 4-on-4 when he walked around Ben Hutton and beat Markstrom shortside.

The Flames, who improved to 9-4-3 on the road, then put the game out of reach during a four-minute span.

Tkachuk made it 3-0 with his seventh at 15:47, Giordano got his second of the night, after hitting the post earlier in the middle period, at 18:47 on a play where Markstrom was swimming in his crease before Bennett ripped his fifth exactly a minute later to make it 5-0 through 40 minutes.

Granlund broke Rittich’s bid for his first career shutout at 6:48 of the third when he collected his own rebound off the crossbar to slide his seventh, and third in two games, home on the power play, but Ferland made it 6-1 on a Flames man advantage at 11:09 to snap an 0-for-23 drought.

Notes: Calgary won the season series 3-1-0. … Tkachuk had three goals and two assists in the Flames’ four games against Vancouver in 2017-18, and nine points (three goals, six assists) in an eight-game point streak against the Canucks. … Vancouver wraps up a four-game homestand Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens. … Calgary host the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

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