Nils Hoglander nets two goals as the Canucks defeat the Flames 4-2, leveling with the Rangers for the NHL lead

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Calgary Flames vs Vancouver Canucks

Nils Hoglander got two goals, Casey DeSmith blocked 22 shots, and the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Calgary Flames 4-2 on Saturday night, tying with the New York Rangers for the top spot in the NHL.

Vancouver won its third game in a row, improving to 45-18-8, with 98 points, matching the New York Rangers’ position in the NHL standings. In the Western Conference, the Canucks are three points ahead of Colorado and Dallas.

DeSmith, playing his fifth consecutive game instead of the injured Thatcher Demko, improved his record to 11-5-6. J.T. Miller scored his 34th goal of the season, Elias Lindholm scored into an empty net, and Elias Pettersson and Conor Garland each contributed with two assists.

“We faced a strong opponent in a rivalry match and I think we dominated,” DeSmith said. “I can’t emphasize enough how well we finished the game.”

Rasmus Andersson and Joel Hanley scored for Calgary, while Jacob Markstrom made 22 saves in his return from a lower-body injury. The Flames had not played since losing 5-2 at home to Washington on Monday.

“After the first 10 minutes, I felt we improved gradually. We got better and better as the game went on,” Andersson said. “We knew they would come out strong and since we hadn’t played in a few days, maybe that was on our minds.”

Calgary Flames vs Vancouver Canucks (Credits: SI)

Hoglander scored first just 48 seconds into the game with a tip-in, then made it 2-0 at 8:16 of the second period with his 22nd goal of the season.

“When I first joined the team, I was amazed at how good he was, three years ago,” Garland said about the 23-year-old Hoglander. “And I think he’s found his groove all over the ice.”

On his second goal in the second period, Garland redirected Connor Zary’s pass to Elias Pettersson in the neutral zone, and then Pettersson passed to Hoglander as they entered Calgary’s territory. Hoglander shifted the puck to his backhand and shot it over Markstrom.

“I just tried to get Marky to go down and then lift the puck up. And it worked,” Hoglander explained.

The move even fooled one of his teammates. “He tricked me,” Pettersson said. “I thought he was going to shoot, and then he did what he did.” Andersson narrowed the gap to 2-1 with 1:29 remaining in the second period.

In the third period, Miller scored with 3:18 left, and Lindholm made it 4-1 with an empty-net goal with 1:10 remaining. Hanley then scored against DeSmith with 19 seconds left.

“These are the games you want to win,” Calgary coach Ryan Huska said. “We got a late goal in the second period, and you want to build on that momentum, but we weren’t able to do that tonight.”

Kai Soriano

By Kai Soriano

Kai Soriano, hailing from the picturesque archipelago of the Philippines, is not just your average writer. With a flair for capturing the essence of the NFL through words, Kai stands out as a leading NFL Content Writer. Blending his passion for sports with his impeccable writing skills, he delivers content that is both engaging and insightful. Dive into his pieces, and experience the game as if you're right there on the field! 🏈

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