Calgary’s Sean Monahan broke out of a slump in a big way on Wednesday.
The Flames centre had a goal and three assists for his first career four-point game to lead Calgary to a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
“It can get frustrating when you’re getting chances and they’re not going in,” said Monahan, who had just three points in his previous 14 games. “But I try to focus on the little things and when I’m playing my best, I’m winning faceoffs, playing well in my own zone and that’s when you generate the most offence.”
Calgary broke a 1-1 tie midway through the second period when Monahan set-up goals 38 seconds apart by all-stars Mark Giordano and Johnny Gaudreau.
Giordano’s winner at 11:32 on a snapshot over Eddie Lack’s shoulder came after he was set up in open ice by a slick cross-ice feed from Monahan.
“Mony, it felt like he had that poise with the puck, that patience,” said Giordano. “He’s played well for us all season. Sometimes numbers lie and don’t tell the whole story of a guy who plays over 20 minutes night-in and night-out. It’s nice to see him get rewarded.”
Monahan capped off the scoring 2:47 into the third period, steering in a centring pass from Gaudreau for his 15th goal of the season.
“After that tough road trip we had where we don’t succeed and produce like we want to, you get that (all-star) break and you refresh your mind and you refresh your legs and you just put it behind you and get going again,” Monahan said.
Dougie Hamilton also scored for Calgary (22-24-3).
The Flames snap a three-game losing streak and climb to within six points of the third place Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division.
Elias Lindholm had the lone goal for Carolina (23-21-8).
“We had too many guys not good enough, too many passengers tonight,” said Carolina coach Bill Peters, whose club had entered the game on a 7-2-1 roll.
Included was a 5-2 win over the Flames in Raleigh 10 days ago.
“We’re not going to make any excuses. We came here a couple of days early to make sure we were ready to go but obviously we didn’t have the game we wanted and we have to be better next game, everybody,” said Carolina captain Eric Staal.
The Hurricanes three-game road trip continues Friday in Winnipeg.
“I didn’t think we came out very good in the first. I feel like we gave them a lot of chances on plays that we normally don’t make,” said Lack. “We came out for the second and we were playing better and better but they were taking advantage of their chances.”
The Flames’ 30th ranked power play went 2 for 4. Mired in an 0-for-15 skid, its first attempt of the night needed just 34 seconds to connect with Hamilton earning his seventh goal.
But Lindholm tied it 18 seconds later.
Karri Ramo had 28 saves to improve to 17-17-1 while Lack had 20 stops to fall to 9-10-3.
One concern for the Flames was the exit of defenceman TJ Brodie early in the second period after a Justin Faulk slapshot hit him in the vicinity of his knee. After slowly hobbling off the ice, he tried to play another shift but couldn’t.
Hartley said they didn’t know the extent of the injury but that they probably would know more on Thursday.