CALGARY — Flames rookie Andrew Mangiapane got a lucky bounce and took full advantage.
On a broken 2-on-1, Mangiapane fired home the go-ahead goal at 16:31 of the third period on Friday as Calgary beat the Anaheim Ducks 2-1 for its fourth straight victory.
The rookie tried to pass the puck across to Garnet Hathaway. Instead it hit Ducks defenceman Jaycob Megna and came right back to him and he ripped a shot over Ryan Miller.
“It was a nice quick up play by (TJ Brodie). I tried to give it to (Hathaway) and it hit off the guy’s skate and came back to me and I had an empty net,” Mangiapane said. “Definitely a nice feeling to get that goal and it was a big two points.”
The 22-year-old has been heating up lately with three goals in his last seven games after failing to score a goal in his first 26 career NHL games, 16 of them coming this season.
“Every game, it’s grown for me,” Mangiapane said, when asked about his confidence level lately. “Playing with (Derek Ryan) and (Hathaway) and getting more comfortable and building chemistry. They’re smart players to play with so it’s easy to shoot the puck and create chances.”
Flames coach Bill Peters likes what the team has in the five-foot-10 left winger, who was a sixth-round draft pick in 2015.
“He’s a dynamic little guy and he’s competitive. He’s hard on pucks. He’s tenacious. He goes into the hard areas. We really like him a lot,” said Peters. “He’s spent his time and learned the craft in the American League which is good to do and important and he’s come up here now and that line has been real good for us.”
Brodie also scored for Calgary (38-16-7) for a two-point night. The Flames moved three points ahead of the idle San Jose Sharks for first place in the Pacfic Division.
Derek Grant scored for Anaheim (24-28-9). The Ducks have split the first two stops in a four-game road trip that continues Saturday night in Edmonton. The Ducks had won three of their first four under interim head coach Bob Murray.
Making things that much more difficult for a Ducks offence that’s last in the league was the late scratch of leading scorer Ryan Getzlaf (upper body).
“I think there were a lot of positives to carry over tomorrow from this game,” said Anaheim centre Adam Henrique.
“They’ve got a good group and we stuck with them for most of the game. It’s obviously a couple mistakes that end up in the back of our net and we didn’t take advantage of those power plays that we had.”
Combined with the Minnesota Wild win, the Ducks are now seven points back of the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
“It’s always tough to lose and these are valuable points, but that team is one of the best in the league,” said Ducks rookie Troy Terry. “We saw what we can do as a team if we’re skating and playing the way we can. It sucks to lose, but it’s something we can definitely build off.”
In third game back from injury, Miller had 26 stops to fall to 6-3-1.
Making his fifth consecutive start for the Flames, Mike Smith made 25 saves to improve to 18-11-2.
The only two goals in a lacklustre opening 40 minutes came five minutes apart early in the second.
At 1:22, Brodie’s point shot deflected off Megna and slipped past Miller.
Smith was the culprit on the tying goal. He left his net to attempt to play a puck that was coming around the end boards. Instead, Carter Rowney arrived at the same time and flicked the puck into the slot where Grant blasted a one-timer into the empty net.
Visibly upset about the blunder, Smith slammed his stick on the ice afterwards.
“I’ve let in plenty of goals that weren’t very good. It’s one thing to let it in. It’s over, it’s down with. You’ve just got to worry about that next shot and keep going, keep playing it,” said Smith.
Notes: Rrookie Calgary D Oliver Kylington (lower body) did not play… Three Flames reached career game milestones — Mikael Backlund (600), Sam Bennett (300) and Noah Hanifin (300)…. The Flames improve to 28-4-1 when they score first.