Flames' checking forwards fill scoresheet to beat Penguins

Michael Frolik had the first of four second-period goals for Calgary, and the Flames held on to snap a season-long four-game skid with a 5-4 win over the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Czarnik, Frolik, Mangiapane score while Pittsburgh stars Malkin, Crosby combine for 6 points

Andrew Mangiapane, right, celebrates his goal with fellow Flames rookie Oliver Kylington during the first period of Saturday’s eventual 5-4 win over the hometown Penguins. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

A big second period ended up being just enough for the Calgary Flames.

Michael Frolik had the first of four second-period goals for Calgary, and the Flames held on to snap a season-long four-game skid with a 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday.

Frolik, Austin Czarnik, Travis Hamonic and Sam Bennett scored during a mid-game 17-minute span for Calgary, which held off a late Pittsburgh charge that included a pair of third-period power-play goals by Evgeni Malkin.

"They're a good team and they had a good pushback there at the end," said Bennett, whose goal with 1:29 left in the second period ended up being decisive. "We got on our heels a little bit, but in the end, we gutted it out and that's a huge win for our team after not the best showing in the last couple games."

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Calgary got its only win on a four-game, eight-day trip and avenged a 9-1 loss to Pittsburgh in October during the teams' other meeting this season.

Despite numerous chances playing 6-on-5 over the game's final 90 seconds, the Penguins couldn't get the equalizer.

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Malkin had three points after serving a one-game suspension for swinging his stick at Philadelphia's Michael Raffl.

"I think we fought hard," Malkin said. "Just [wish] we would have played better 5-on-5."

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Mike Smith made 34 saves to win for the first time since Jan. 13 for Calgary, which entered Saturday tied for the best record in the Western Conference.

Calgary never trailed after Andrew Mangiapane opened the scoring 7:06 into the game.

Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists for the Penguins, who welcomed back defenceman Justin Schultz from a 53-game absence because of a fractured left leg. Schultz assisted on Jake Guentzel's goal that tied the game 1-1 late in the first period.

The Penguins' Sidney Crosby, second from left, celebrates his goal during the second period. Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, second from right, combined for three goals and six points in Saturday’s 5-4 loss to Calgary. (Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

But the Penguins allowed at least five goals for the seventh time over their past 17 games and are 7-9-1 in that stretch. They have dropped to the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They entered Saturday one point clear of ninth-place Carolina.

Malkin nearly pulled Pittsburgh back from a 5-2 deficit with goals at 5:42 and 14:41 of the third period. Each of those was assisted by Crosby, but Crosby could not convert two prime scoring chances in the final minute.

"You know it's coming, right?" Flames head coach Bill Peters said of the Penguins' late surge. "We made it a little harder than we would've liked by putting them on the power play."

Before he was relieved by Casey DeSmith for the start of the third period, the Penguins' Matt Murray allowed five goals on 24 shots, though his performance was at least in part attributable to shoddy defence and bad luck.

Multiple deflections

The puck on the goal credited to Mangiapane — the second of his career — hit at least three sticks after it was shot from the left point by Oliver Kylington.

The goal that gave the Flames the lead for good 1:29 into the second period was a loose puck swatted in when no Penguins player picked up Frolik after Murray had stopped Matthew Tkachuk.

Ninety-three seconds after that, Czarnik's third of the season was a shot from the top of the left circle that deflected off the stick of a Penguins defender. And Hamonic's goal from the right-wing boards with 3:58 left in the second hit Guentzel's stick on the way in.

Bennett's goal 2 1/2 minutes later gave Calgary five goals in a game for the 18th time this season. The Flames moved into second in the NHL in goals.

"Obviously, there's stuff you still want to clean up but everything's moving back to where it was when we were buzzing," Smith said. "That's a good team there. ... We wanted to finish this road trip off on a right note here and get two points tonight."


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