Monahan powers Flames to 4-1 win over Hurricanes
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Sean Monahan broke out of a slump in a big way for the Calgary Flames.
The third-year center had a goal and three assists for his first career four-point game to lead the Flames to a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night.
''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 offense.''
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.
Dougie Hamilton also scored for Calgary, which snapped a three-game losing streak and climbed to within six points of the third-place Anaheim Ducks in the Pacific Division.
''After that tough road trip we had where we don't succeed and produce like we want to,'' Monahan said, ''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.''
Elias Lindholm had the lone goal for Carolina, opened a three-game road trip and started the night 7-2-1 in its last 10.
''We had too many guys not good enough, too many passengers tonight,'' Carolina coach Bill Peters said.
Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman served the first of a 20-game suspension for cross-checking linesman Don Henderson last week. The NHLPA is appealing the suspension.
With the game tied at 1, Giordano snapped a shot over Eddie Lack's shoulder 11:32 into the second period 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,'' Giordano said. ''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 his first career four-point night steering in a centering pass from Gaudreau at 2:47 of the third. The Flames' top line center entered the night with just three points in the previous 14 games.
The same teams had just met in Carolina 10 days ago, with the Hurricanes winning 5-2. On this night, Calgary was the better team in one of its most complete efforts of the last few weeks.
''We're not going to make any excuses,'' Carolina captain Eric Staal said. ''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.''
The Flames' 30th-ranked power play played a big role, going 2 for 4. Calgary entered in an 0-for-15 skid with the man advantage, but on its first attempt of the night needed just 34 seconds to score with Hamilton earning his seventh goal.
The lead lasted just 18 seconds as Lindholm cut in, froze defenseman Kris Russell with a fake shot and zipped a wrist shot inside the goal post on Karri Ramo.
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 defenseman TJ Brodie early in the second period after Justin Faulk's slap shot hit him in the knee. He slowly hobbled off the ice and while he did try to play a shift shortly after, he wasn't out for long and left the game right after that with what's been called a lower body injury.
NOTES: Giordano earned his 200th NHL assist. ... Calgary's healthy scratches included C Markus Granlund and D Jakub Nakladal, who was recalled earlier in the day from Stockton to replace Wideman on the roster.