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SNAPSHOTS: Lindholm scores again, Flames win again on record-setting afternoon – Toronto Sun

Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Winnipeg Jets with less than a minute remaining in the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.
Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Winnipeg Jets with less than a minute remaining in the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Postmedia

For Elias Lindholm, it was a record snipe.

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For the Calgary Flames, it secured a record streak.

Lindholm — who else, really? — notched the go-ahead goal with only 46.3 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Flames to a 3-1 victory in a Family Day matinee against the Winnipeg Jets at the Saddledome.

The first-line centre has now scored in eight straight, equalling the longest such spree in club history.

Thanks to his tip-in tally for the game-winner, the Flames matched another franchise benchmark by extending their remarkable run to 10 straight wins.

Wow. X 2.

“Ten in a row is nice. Ten in a row, that’s good,” Lindholm said with a grin, not surprisingly choosing to focus on the team accomplishment first. “It was nice to see it go in. It was a tough game, was tight, not a lot of chances, but we stuck with it. And 10 in a row feels pretty good.”

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As it should.

In nearly 50 years, the Flames have just three times reeled off 10 straight Ws — once in the Atlanta days, again in 2017 and then this current cruise, which dates back to Jan. 29.

“I don’t put a whole lot into 10 in a row unless they were 10 in a row in the playoffs,” Flames coach Darryl Sutter deadpanned in his post-game press conference.

A never-satisfied sort, Sutter was more complimentary when asked about Lindholm’s current scorcher.

The 27-year-old is only the third Flames sharpshooter — and first in his lifetime — to light the lamp in eight consecutive contests. Gary Roberts achieved that feat in 1993, while Kent Nilsson did so a decade earlier.

“There’s lots of guys that score goals but don’t score big goals. Or at playoff time, don’t get scoring chances,” Sutter replied when asked about Lindholm. “He scores big goals, which usually translates into the next part.”

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Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom makes a save against Winnipeg Jets forward Paul Stastny at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.
Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom makes a save against Winnipeg Jets forward Paul Stastny at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Postmedia

Sean Monahan and Tyler Toffoli had Monday’s other markers and Jacob Markstrom was sharp in a 22-save showing as the Flames finished a good-as-gold seven-for-seven on an extended stay at the Saddledome during what was originally intended to be the Olympic break. It is, in fact, the first time in NHL history that a team has completed a sweep of a homestand that lasted seven-or-more games.

They will now pack for a quick trip to the West Coast for Thursday’s clash with the Vancouver Canucks (8 p.m. MT, Sportsnet West/Sportsnet 960 The Fan).

Here’s some free advice — the Canucks might want to keep a close eye on the guy in No. 28.

“When you’re feeling it, you feel like you have a chance of every shot going in,” Lindholm said.

Also responsible for Saturday’s third-period game-winner against the Seattle Kraken, the surging Swede actually buried a pair behind Connor Hellebuyck in this afternoon affair. Thing is, only one counted.

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Midway through the middle frame, he finished off a feed from Matthew Tkachuk on an offensive rush. The Jets, however, challenged that the locals were offside as Oliver Kylington hauled the puck into the zone — and they were right. It was Lindholm who was guilty of being a wee bit too anxious, negating his own goal.

As it turned out, that simply set the stage for a dramatic finish.

The Jets coughed up the puck at their own blue-line in the final minute. Johnny Gaudreau circled and surveyed his options for a pass but opted instead to fire a wrister from the point and Lindholm — after absorbing both a cross-check and a slash from Pierre-Luc Dubois — re-routed that shot just inside the post with a dandy deflection.

“He’s been playing really well for us on this little winning streak that we’ve had,” Gaudreau said. “Hopefully he can keep scoring for us.”

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FIRST OF MANY?

A few hours before puck-drop, Lindholm learned that he’d been saluted as the NHL’s first star of the week, hardly a surprise after he’d splurged for four goals and eight points over a superb three-game stretch.

It’s not too soon to be talking about the possibility of another league-wide nod for Lindholm. The two-way talent is among the early frontrunners for the Selke Trophy.

Lindholm, who is third on the team with 23 goals and 49 points but is arguably even more valuable in his own zone, made a heads-up play to bail out Markstrom after a rare giveaway by his goaltending buddy in Monday’s third period. Evgeny Svechnikov would have been firing at an empty net, but Calgary’s top pivot swatted the puck away as he readied to unload.

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“He’s been scoring goals, but he’s defensively been one of the best players I’ve ever seen or played with,” praised Markstrom when asked recently about Lindholm. “It’s a pleasure to be out there watching him and be out there on the ice with him. I’m happy I’m on the same team and not playing against him. He’s been great for us.”

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and defenceman Neal Pionk defend against Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022.
Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and defenceman Neal Pionk defend against Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday, Feb. 21, 2022. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Postmedia

 AROUND THE BOARDS 

The locals haven’t suffered a loss at the Saddledome since Feb. 13 — a separate string of 10 straight triumphs. That’s, well, exactly what Sutter expects. His club is now 14-4-4 in their red sweaters this season. “We said we were going to try to win every home game this year,” Sutter said. “We didn’t get off to the start we wanted, but we try to win every one.” … The Flames have outscored opponents by a combined count of 42-15 during their 10-game heater, although the past two have been squeakers. “The constants that have been asked about us are about the streak and how many goals we’re scoring,” Sutter said. “Well, if you look at the streak and when we were scoring four or five goals, they were just coming in bunches. You have to play low-scoring games. It’s very simple, for this outfit here, that’s the way it’s going to work. Their mantra (in the past) was outscore the other team, and it hasn’t worked for several years. You’ve gotta be able to shut teams down and take advantage of it. And how you do that is getting that identity at home, very simple” … One week after arriving in a trade from the Montreal Canadiens, Tyler Toffoli was getting a look  on the Flames’ top power-play unit. That meant a demotion for Monahan, but he provided an immediate spark for PP2. With the locals rushing into enemy territory on a man-advantage early in the middle period, Monahan accepted a no-look pass from Andrew Mangiapane and picked the top corner on Hellebuyck’s glove-side … Toffoli sealed it with an empty-netter with 11 seconds to go, his second goal in four games since the swap … The proudest papas on Family Day at the Saddledome were Flames athletic therapist Kent Kobelka and assistant general manager Chris Snow. Kobelka’s daughter, Charley, aced the national anthem, while Snow’s two kids were a huge help to the in-house entertainment crew — Cohen at the microphone as the junior public-address announcer and Willa as host of a ‘How it Works’ segment on the jumbotron.

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OFF THE GLASS

How much fun is Gaudreau having these days? “It’s a blast,” he beamed. “Obviously, we’re winning games. We’re playing well. We’re getting better at practice … It’s been a lot of fun” … The Flames are the third NHL squad to win 10 straight this season, joining the Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Avalanche. Neither managed to stretch theirs to 11 … The Flames made a tweak to their bottom-six, with Dillon Dube losing his spot alongside Monahan and Toffoli on the third line. Milan Lucic was instead skating with that duo, while Dube was bumped to the fourth unit. Although he scored in back-to-back games last week, there was speculation Dube may be scratched against the Jets. He was looking like an odd-man-out during Sunday’s practice and Sutter was honest that he needs more consistency from the 23-year-old speedster. “He’s like all young players — they’re up and down with their games,” Sutter explained. “It’s not just Dillon. We have three or four of them guys. It’s a competition. It’s a competition for ice time. It’s a competition to play. Very simple. It’s a big adjustment we’ve had to make here is the difference between entitlement and earned. And that’s what good teams do — they earn it” … Flames forward prospect Matthew Phillips piled up six points to power the Stockton Heat to a sweep of a two-game weekend set against the Bakersfield Condors, the top affiliate for the arch-rival Edmonton Oilers. The 23-year-old Phillips is now Stockton’s all-time leading point-getter with 136 career points on behalf of the farm club, although he and teammate Glenn Gawdin (135) will likely be wrestling that record back and forth. Thanks to a 29-8-4 mark, the Heat own the top points percentage in the American Hockey League, at .756.

wgilbertson@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/WesGilbertson

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