Ducks play spoiler in beating frustrated Flames 3-1

CALGARY — Max Comtois had a goal and assist and John Gibson made 34 stops as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Friday night.

Brett Leason and Derek Grant, into an empty net, also scored for Anaheim (22-35-9), which improves to 5-1-2 in their last eight.

Mikael Backlund scored the lone goal for Calgary (29-24-13), which is winless in its last five at home (0-4-1). The Flames remain four points back of Winnipeg for the second wild-card playoff berth in the Western Conference. The Jets also hold a game in hand.

The victory improves Gibson's record to 14-24-7.

Peppered with 13 shots in the third period as the Flames pressed for the tying goal, Gibson was perfect with his best stop coming with less than seven minutes remaining when he snagged a close-in shot off the stick of Tyler Toffoli after the Flames leading goal scorer was set up in the slot by Jakob Pelletier.

In a flurry earlier in the period, Gibson kicked out his left pad to make successive pad stops from in-close off Jonathan Huberdeau and then Nazem Kadri.

Calgary falls to 0-16-3 when trailing after two periods. They're the only NHL team without a comeback victory.

At the other end, Jacob Markstrom had 15 stops in his fifth straight start. He falls to 17-18-8.

After a scoreless first period, the Flames took a 1-0 lead at 6:43 of the second on a power play when Elias Lindholm's shot banked in off of Backlund in front.

It was the first power-play goal in six games for Calgary, which was 0-for-12 over the previous five games.

The lead was short-lived, however, with the Ducks answering back 64 seconds later on a deflection of their own.

Frank Vatrano whipped a rising shot toward the net that changed directions off Comtois' and fooled Markstrom.

The goal ended Markstrom's shutout streak at 98:35.

On the go-ahead goal at 11:33 of the second, Leason whacked in a loose puck from the side of the net for his fifth goal.

Leason, who grew up in Calgary, drew back into the lineup against his hometown team after missing the previous three games as a healthy scratch.


The Flames had their eight-game (7-0-1) point streak against Anaheim snapped that dated back to 2019. It had been their longest active streak against any one opponent.


Gibson's 13 saves in the first period moved him past Guy Hebert (11,813) and into top spot on the Ducks' all-time list. Gibson has been busy this season, leading the NHL in saves with 1,516.


Ducks: Open an eight-game homestand on Sunday against the Nashville Predators.

Flames: Take on the Ottawa Senators on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2023.

Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press