Josh Anderson and Cole Caufield might see Jacob Markstrom in their nightmares after the Swedish netminder’s performance on Tuesday night.
Markstrom made 34 saves – eight off Caufield shots – as the Calgary Flames defeated the Montreal Canadiens 2-1.
His best stop was with one minute 11 seconds left in the game as Markstrom robbed Anderson with a glove save in front of the net to keep Calgary ahead.
“Marky was excellent tonight. Unbelievable,” said Flames forward Connor Zary. “I saw that stop at the end, and that’s what wins you games right there.”
Zary and Nazem Kadri provided the goals for Calgary (5-8-2), but Markstrom led from start to finish to earn his third win of the season in his first start in a week due to an upper-body injury.
“Our goalie was our best player tonight,” said Flames head coach Ryan Huska. “I thought Marky had a real great night, especially late in the game when they were coming on, he made some really big saves for us.”
That crucial save kept Anderson – who has scored 122 times in the NHL – goalless through 16 games this season.
The 29-year-old forward still couldn’t believe his luck after the game.
“You’re not wrong there,” said Anderson, asked if he had to pinch himself. “I’m definitely getting the looks. Certainly have to change something, maybe a new stick, I don’t know.
“I’m still in disbelief.”
Gustav Lindstrom scored the lone goal for Montreal (7-7-2), which lost its second in a row. Samuel Montembeault made 27 saves.
With Calgary up 2-1, Andrew Mangiapane appeared to score the 100th goal of his career four minutes into the third period but the play was ruled offside after a Montreal challenge.
After Montreal then controlled the play for most of the period, Brendan Gallagher took a tripping penalty with three minutes left as Flames forward Elias Lindholm fell onto the back of the net.
The call from referee Pierre Lambert drew loud boos from the Bell Centre crowd – and some choice words from Gallagher post-game.
“It can’t happen, he’s in the neutral zone,” Gallagher said of Lambert. “It’s a terrible call. I mean you can’t make that mistake, it’s as simple as that. Guy turns his back, hits the net [and falls], his partner is right there, let him call.
“The reason [Lambert] calls that is their bench makes noise and he reacts to it. Can’t happen.”
The Canadiens got a call in their favour over a minute later to make it 4-on-4 before jumping to a 6-on-4 advantage with their penalty expired and the goalie pulled.
Montreal had multiple shots – including Anderson’s – as time wound down, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
“We don’t have to tell ourselves twice with Marky,” said Kadri. “He’s always gonna be there and he’s the backbone of this team.”
Kadri opened the scoring at 2:35 of the second period with a pretty spinning wrist shot past Montembeault after a deke around Christian Dvorak to enter the offensive zone.
The lead was short-lived as Lindstrom replied 17 seconds later with his first for the Canadiens off a one-timer that hit Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson on its way into the net.
Zary then scored a tap-in off a feed from Andersson and regained the lead for Calgary at 13:07 of the frame.
The 22-year-old Zary moved up to six points in his first six NHL games, all this season. Martin Pospisil, 23, also assisted on his goal.
“Good on them. They’ve done a real good job,” said Huska. “Zary and [Kadri] have seemed to find a little bit of chemistry and we were wondering how it would work with Posp on that line, and he did really well.”
The Flames left Eastern Canada with a win after an overtime loss in Toronto and a loss in Ottawa.
They hope the victory can help them build momentum in what’s been a slow start to the season.
“To fight back to .500 on this road trip I think means a lot,” said Kadri. “Obviously you want to always do better but to not let it get away from you I think is a major character builder.”
The Canadiens held a pre-game ceremony for Pierre Turgeon, the newest member of their Ring of Honour. Turgeon was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday after a 19-season career where he totalled 1,327 points in 1,294 games.
The 54-year-old from Rouyn-Noranda, Que., played just 104 games in a Habs jersey but served as team captain during the 1995-96 season and the Canadiens’ last game at the Montreal Forum. He’s the 60th Canadiens player to make the Hall.
Turgeon also played for Buffalo, the New York Islanders, St. Louis, Dallas and Colorado. Although Montreal was a short stop, he said playing for the team he watched growing up was special.
“The first time I wore my jersey, I looked down and said, `this is the Canadiens, that’s incredible,”' said Turgeon before the game. “The Montreal Canadiens are like a religion, they’re an incredible team. To be part of their history is a privilege.”
Calgary: Opens a two-game homestand against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.
Montreal: Hosts the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursdays before a five-game road trip.