Flames secure playoff berth, then score 9 unanswered goals to breeze past Coyotes


Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each scored twice and had two assists for the Calgary Flames in a Saturday’s 9-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. The Flames clinched an NHL playoff berth before the game even started.

The Flames missed the single point needed to secure a trip to the post-season Thursday in a 6-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

It was their archrival Edmonton Oilers locking Calgary into the post-season Saturday by beating the Knights 4-0 in regulation before the puck dropped on the Coyotes at the Flames.

The Flames (46-20-9), atop the Pacific Division, became the third Western Conference club to nail down a playoff spot following the Colorado Avalanche on April 6 and the St. Louis Blues on Saturday.

WATCH l Flames celebrate securing a playoff berth with an onslaught of goalsl

Flames celebrate securing a playoff berth with an onslaught of goals

Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each had 2 goals and 2 assists, as Calgary beat Arizona 9-1. 0:55

Gaudreau’s four-point night increased his total to 105 this season. Dillon Dube also scored twice and Elias Lindholm had a goal and three assists for the Flames.

Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman were Calgary’s other goal scorers. Flames starter Jacob Markstrom stopped 25 of 26 shots for the win after he was pulled in two straight games for Dan Vladar.

Nick Ritchie replied for Arizona (22-48-5) playing out the string in the NHL’s basement.

Coyotes starter Harri Sateri was pulled for Karel Vejmelka after giving up four goals on four shots to start the second period, but returned to the game and stopped 24 of 31 shots overall in the loss.

Vejmelka turned away eight of 10 shots in 16:49 minutes of work.

Since losing the Stanley Cup final in seven games to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004 — with current head coach Darryl Sutter also behind Calgary’s bench then — the Flames have exited the playoffs in the first round seven times and were ousted in the second round in 2015.

Trailing 1-0 after the opening period, the Flames exploded for four goals in a span of two minutes 27 seconds starting 38 seconds into the second period.

Four goals in three minutes 11 seconds was the third-fastest four goals to start a period in NHL history and the quickest in 45 years, according to the league.

Lindholm and Tkachuk each collected their 39th goals this season and Gaudreau his 36th. The last Flame to crack the 40-goal mark in a season was Jarome Iginla in 2010-11.

The Coyotes scored 30 seconds after the opening faceoff on their first shot of the game. Ritchie chipped Jay Beagle’s pass from the boards upstairs on Markstrom for Arizona’s first goal scored in the first minute this season.

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