SUN Hockey Pool

Calgary Flames top Florida Panthers in a shootout

Blair Jones scores for the Flames against the Florida Panthers in Friday night's shootout win at...

Blair Jones scores for the Flames against the Florida Panthers in Friday night's shootout win at the Saddledome. Photo by Jim Wells/Calgary Sun

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:51 AM ET

CALGARY - Sean Monahan is making a convincing case for the crown. 

Apparently, though, the nickname is already spoken for.

“They call (Reto Berra) the King of Shootouts in Switzerland,” revealed Calgary Flames winger Sven Baertschi after Friday’s 4-3 shootout victory over the Florida Panthers at the Saddledome.

Monahan might have something to say about that.

For the second time in less than a week, the 19-year-old centre — you know, the kid with the wicked snapshot and the ice-water running through his veins — had the decisive snipe in the skills competition.

He’s two-for-two at the NHL level. 

Both have been game-winners.

Not bad, kid.

“You’ve gotta be calm, and you’ve gotta be confident in your ability or you won’t know what to do or you won’t know where to place the puck,” Monahan said. 

“I try to be confident with the puck and do whatever I can to put it in.”

Seems to be working.

Friday’s shootout was in its sixth round — Jiri Hudler and Michael Cammalleri had scored for the Flames, while Brad Boyes, and Tomas Fleischmann had replied for the Panthers — when the home-side's head coach, Bob Hartley, tapped Monahan on the shoulder.

The sixth-overall selection from the 2013 NHL Draft snapped a shot under Tim Thomas’ blocker to put the Flames ahead.

At the other end, Berra denied Jimmy Hayes to officially end it. 

It’s the Calgary club's first shootout win on Saddledome ice since Feb. 11, 2012, a span of 650 days.

Back then, they didn’t have Monahan. 

Or Berra.

Although the Flames starting netminder didn’t have his finest performance, Baertschi had no doubts he would deliver in the skills competition.

“I can’t even remember the last time he lost in a shootout in Switzerland,” Baertschi said. 

“This summer, we practised with, like, 10 guys, and it was Reto’s first practice with us. He wanted us to go on him in shootouts, so everybody went twice, and only one guy scored. One goal. Out of 20 shots. 

“He actually told me a secret. I’m not going to say anything, but he has a secret.”

The Flames might have found a secret weapon in Monahan. 

“He’s a goal-scorer,” Hartley said. “He has great vision, plus he has great poise. You can’t teach poise.”

It was also a positive night for Baertschi, who buried a rebound on a second-period powerplay for his first goal in what must feel like forever. To be precise, the 21-year-old winger hadn’t lit the lamp since Oct. 9 — a span of 15 games and three elevator rides to the press-box as healthy scratch. 

“Way too long. It’s such an amazing feeling, you want to have that feeling all the time,” Baertschi said. “Sometimes, the puck doesn’t go your way. But (Friday night), as soon as I saw the puck come to me, I was 100% sure it was in the net. So it feels good to get that one.” 

Joe Colborne and Blair Jones also lit the lamp for the Flames in regulation time.

Tom Gilbert opened the scoring for the Panthers, while Hayes and Marcel Goc had third-period tallies to erase the Flames' 3-1 lead and force extra time.

The Flames have now collected five points over their past three games, including Monday’s 5-4 shootout victory against the Jets in Winnipeg and Wednesday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets.

After two consecutive dates against NHL Eastern Conference bottom-feeders, the Flames will enjoy a four-day break between games before welcoming the Chicago Blackhawks to the Saddledome for Wednesday’s showdown with the defending Stanley Cup champions (8 p.m., TSN/Sportsnet Fan 960).

 
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Panthers (6-13-4) at Flames (7-11-4)

TIME: 7 p.m.

TV: Sportsnet West

RADIO: Sportsnet Fan 960

THE MAIN STORYLINE: The Flames end their stretch of five games against teams that have played the night before. They have posted a 1-2-1 record during this little run.

LINEUP NOTES: Calgary kid LW TJ Galiardi will be a healthy scratch with C Blair Jones put into the lineup for the Flames. Jones was summoned from the AHL Abbotsford Heat Thursday after the club traded away Tim Jackman and will play his first game of the season for Calgary. He was leading the Heat in scoring. Reto Berra will start in goal for Calgary.

As for Florida, the Panthers didn't skate after playing in Edmonton the night before. It's possible both C Scott Gomez and LW Sean Bergenheim will play. RW Tomas Kopecky and C Jesse Winchester appeared to be injured.

BURNING QUESTION: Will this game be as bad as Wednesday's against the Columbus Blue Jackets? That one was as disappointing as advertised, and a clash between the Flames and Panthers doesn't invoke much excitement.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Flames Blair Jones was so far down in Bob Hartley's dog house last season, they had to build a basement. He's worked his way back and earned another crack.

FAST FACT: Calgary has lost six straight at home (0-4-2) starting with that clash against Toronto the Flames deserved to win.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We all know that this is a competitive business and we want everyone accountable.” -Flames head coach Bob Hartley about Galiardi

Flames didn't do line rushes during the morning skate so here's a best guess.

FORWARDS

Michael Cammalleri-Matt Stajan-Lee Stempniak

Lance Bouma-Joe Colborne-David Jones

Sven Baetschi-Sean Monahan-Jiri Hudler

Blair Jones- Mikael Backlund-Brian McGrattan

DEFENCE

Kris Russell-TJ Brodie

Chris Butler-Dennis Wideman

Ladislav Smid-Shane O'Brien

GOAL

Reto Berra

Karri Ramo

INJURED: D Mark Giordano (ankle), LW Curtis Glencross (knee)

SCRATCHES: LW TJ Galiardi, D Derek Smith


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