Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko, left, looks on as Calgary Flames celebrates a goal during third period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Saturday, April 23, 2022.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Elias Lindholm hits 40-goal mark as Calgary Flames down Vancouver Canucks 6-3

B.C. side six points out of playoff spot with three games to play

Dillon Dube scored twice and Elias Lindholm notched his 40th goal to lead the Calgary Flames to a 6-3 win over Vancouver on Saturday night, reducing the Canucks’ playoff hopes to just a flicker.

Brett Ritchie, Nikita Zadorov and Johnny Gaudreau, into an empty net, also scored for Calgary (49-20-10). The Flames, 9-1-1 in their last 11, have already locked up first place in the Pacific Division.

Quinn Hughes, Conor Garland and Emilio Pettersson had the goals for Vancouver (38-30-11), which loses both games on its two-game road trip that started off in Minnesota.

With three games remaining, the Canucks trail Nashville and Dallas in the Western Conference wild card race by six points. Vegas, two points ahead of Vancouver, is another team they would have to pass.

With Jacob Markstrom getting the night off and not even in uniform, rookie Dan Vladar got the rare home start – just his third start at the Saddledome all season. He made 28 stops to improve to 12-5-2.

At the other end, Thatcher Demko had 25 stops. He falls to 33-22-7.

After a scoreless and penalty-free first period, the Flames surged in front 2:44 into the second period with a power-play goal.

Lindholm, who was clipped by a high-stick from rookie Canucks forward William Lockwood to draw the penalty, whipped a perfect shot into the top corner after being set up by Johnny Gaudreau.

Lindholm’s 40th goal comes one game after linemate Matthew Tkachuk reached that same number.

It’s the first time Calgary has had multiple 40-goal scorers in a season since 1993-94 when Gary Roberts (41), Theo Fleury (40) and Robert Reichel (40) all accomplished that feat.

Lindholm, whose career-best had been 29 in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season, had been stalled at 39 for the past three games.

Robbed on three glorious chances on Thursday and thwarted on another dangerous chance in the first period on Saturday, Lindholm’s look skyward when the red goal light lit up showed his relief.

With the Saddledome still buzzing, the Flames scored again 16 seconds later, Dube one-timing a centering pass from Calle Jarnkrok.

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After Hughes’ goal at 18:44 of the second cut the deficit to one, Garland got the Canucks back to even 5:36 into the third period when he swatted Tyler Myers’ cross-ice pass out of the air and inside the post.

But it was only tied for 14 seconds with Calgary’s fourth line producing the go-ahead goal. Chris Tanev’s point shot deflected in off Ritchie’s skate while he was jostling in front with Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

Calgary then put the game away, erupting for two goals 12 seconds apart.

At 13:33, Dube darted in off the wing and beat Demko with a backhander into the top corner. That was followed by a Zadorov slapshot that squeaked through Demko’s pads.

Dube’s 16th goal of the season and sixth in his last six games ended up the game-winner when Pettersson scored for Vancouver at 17:32 to make it 5-3.

NOTES: Calgary is the first NHL team since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins to have four players reach 35 goals – Tkachuk (40), Lindholm (40), Johnny Gaudreau (38), Andrew Mangiapane (35) … The Flames called up Dustin Wolf from Stockton (AHL) to back up Vladar.

Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press

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