Calgary Flames: Matthew Tkachuk scores first hat-trick in win over Vegas

The Calgary Flames have won their first game in five games against the Vegas Golden Knights as Matthew Tkachuk scored his first career hat-trick.

Who said scoring goals was a problem for the Calgary Flames? With six goals tonight in their 6-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, they finally broke their four-game losing streak to regain their first-place Western Conference lead back.

With an empty-net goal, Matthew Tkachuk scored his first career hat-trick tonight as Mikael Backlund also scored two goals and Michael Frolik had four assists. Never split up the 3M line again.

David Rittich stopped 25 of 28 shots while Malcolm Subban on the other side allowed five goals on 35 shots.

Let’s check out how the Flames got here tonight.

First period

Early in the game, Andrew Mangiapane had open ice and was fed a pass from Garnet Hathaway. He took advantage and with a quick wrister, it was an early 1-0 lead. A few minutes later as the Calgary Flames continued to press, the Golden Knights cause a turnover and from a quick release from Mikael Backlund, it was 2-0.

With a little over five remaining in the period after the Flames successfully killed off a penalty, TJ Brodie was supposed to be watching Brandon Pirri. Alex Tuch had the puck, went behind the net, Brodie somewhat let his man go and Pirri made it in front of the net, basically open, got the puck from Tuch and quickly snapped it past David Rittich to cut the lead to one.

With about a minute remaining in the period, Mark Giordano made a good defensive play to get the puck over to Michael Frolik as he went down on a two-on-one breakaway with Matthew Tkachuk. Frolik waited until the last possible second to pass it over to Tkachuk, fooling Malcolm Subban in the process, and Tkachuk got it past Subban to regain the two-goal lead.

Overall, this was a great period played by the Flames as they outshot the Golden Knights 14-8 and completely dominated at 5v5.

Second period

The second period didn’t start as well for the Calgary Flames. Right off the faceoff, Reilly Smith snuck behind the Flames defenders, was passed the puck, and made it a one-goal game on the backhand. Not even a minute later, Mark Stone went to the net, was fed the pass from Paul Stastny, and tied the game up.

The next few minutes saw some good chances for the Golden Knights as they had some opportunities to get their first lead of the game. Around the midway mark, the Flames finally started to answer back in the period and get some pressure of their own. Including a filthy pass from Tkachuk over to Johnny Gaudreau, but he was robbed by Subban.

With under 30 seconds to go in the period, Rasmus Andersson shot a rocket from the point which Backlund tipped right in front of the net on the powerplay for the lead again. Subban argued goaltender interference, but after a review which showed Subban coming out of the crease to make contact with Backlund, this one was ruled a good goal.

After the horn sounded for the end of the second, Subban had some words for the official and got in his face, which resulted in a powerplay for the Flames to start the third. The period didn’t start off well but the Flames managed to come back and still outshot Vegas 14-8. It was an overall even game at 5v5.

Third period

As I mentioned, the Calgary Flames started the period off on the powerplay, but they couldn’t get much going, and even allowed a chance by Vegas. There was a bit of end-to-end action, but Vegas was definitely pressing hard and getting the majority of the attempts about midway through the period.

At one point, they were very close to tying it up when Stone stripped of the puck in the defensive zone and Rittich had to come up big and bail him out.

With under five minutes remaining in the game, the 3M line came together again and with some nice passes, Tkachuk gave the Flames that insurance goal and got his second goal of the game.

A couple of minutes later, after the Golden Knights took out the goalie for the extra attacker, Tkachuk found the empty net to score his first career hat trick! On that play, Frolik assisted for his fourth assist of the night.

This game finished 6-3 for the Flames for their first win in five games to regain that Western Conference lead back. Overall, this was a great opening for the Flames in the first period, but they somewhat fell back in the next two periods.