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Matthew Tkachuk hat trick powers Flames past Kraken 5-3

Seattle Kraken center Ryan Donato (9) vies for the puck against Calgary Flames left wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, April 12, 2022, in Calgary, Alberta.  (Associated Press)
Associated Press

CALGARY, Alberta — Matthew Tkachuk scored three goals for a career-best 37 this season, and the Calgary Flames rallied to beat the Seattle Kraken 5-3 on Tuesday night.

Noah Hanifin had a goal and an assist, and Andrew Mangiapane also scored for Calgary (45-19-9), which had four unanswered goals in the third period to earn its fifth straight win.

Outplayed through 40 minutes, coach Darryl Sutter juggled his lines and switched his goaltender, the Flames responded quickly in the third period.

Johnny Gaudreau had two assists and reached a career high with 101 points. He had the primary assist on Tkachuk’s second goal.

“It’s cool,” Gaudreau said. “I just made a little pass down to Chucky and he tried to go seam to (Elias Lindholm) and it bounced right back to him and fired it in the net. It was a big one.”

Dan Vladar (11-5-1) started the third period in goal and stopped all seven shots he faced in relief of Jacob Markstrom to pick up the win. His best stop was a blocker save on Karson Kuhlman on a short-handed breakaway. Markstrom stopped 12 of 15 shots.

Ryan Donato scored his career-best 15th goal and Victor Rask and Adam Larsson added scores for Seattle (23-44-6), which was swept in the four-game season series. Chris Driedger (7-12-1) had 26 stops for the Kraken.

Down 3-1 after two periods, the Flames scored twice in the opening six minutes of the third to pull even.

On a 4-on-3 power play, Tkachuk’s attempted pass across the top of the crease hit Larsson and came right back and he swatted in his second goal of the game.

Gaudreau’s career best had been 99 points in 2018-19.

Tkachuk turned to Gaudreau and gave him a big hug after the milestone point as the Saddledome crowd roared. His parents, Guy and Jane, who just arrived in Calgary for the first time since before the pandemic, hugged and celebrated with family members in the crowd.

“I’m sure my mom and dad were pretty excited. They hadn’t been out here in probably three years,” Gaudreau said. “My dad’s probably going to tell me I didn’t play the best game, but he’s going to be happy for me and it’s exciting to have him here.”

Gaudreau is the seventh player in franchise history to get 100 points and first since Theoren Fleury in 1992-93.

“I know us, as linemates and teammates, would be lying to you if we said we weren’t trying to get it for him and thinking about it for most of the last couple of games when he’s sitting at 99,” Tkachuk said. “It’s pretty cool to be linked to that with him, so that’s very cool for me and it just speaks to the year he’s having … and we’re not done yet.”

Hanifin ripped a slap shot into the top corner on a power play at 14:10 of the third for the game-winner. He has seven points (one goal, six assists) in the last three games.

Tkachuk capped off his game with an empty-net goal in the final minute.

“You’ve got to win third periods,” Sutter said. “They’re not always going to be great, but you’ve got to try and win the third period. Win the third period, you’re going to win hockey games.”

Tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, the Kraken scored the only two goals of the second period to surge in front 3-1.

Seattle took its second lead of the night when Rask one-timed a setup from Kole Lind from in front.

The Kraken took a two-goal lead late in the period when Larsson’s low shot squeaked through Markstrom’s pads.

Seattle opened the scoring at 14:13 of the first period on a perfect set-up from rookie Matty Beniers, making his NHL debut.

Beniers got the puck at the sideboards and zipped a pass across the slot that was one-timed past Markstrom by Donato.

“I was excited about how it went,” said the 19-year-old Beniers. “I was playing with two great players. They made it pretty easy on me. I thought we did a good job tonight. Just tough. You want to come out with that win.”

Calgary tied it less than three minutes later when Noah Hanifin’s point shot was deflected out of mid-air by Tkachuk.

Beniers, a Hobey Baker finalist and second-overall pick in the 2021 NHL draft, signed with Seattle on Monday, shortly after Michigan lost to Denver on Thursday in the semifinal of the NCAA Frozen Four. In 61 games over two seasons with the Wolverines, he had 67 points (30 goals, 37 assists).

His night began with the customary rookie solo lap before the rest of the Kraken took the ice for warm-up. He then spent the night centering the club’s top line with Donato and Jordan Eberle.

“His hockey sense and his ability to know and understand what’s around him on the ice showed to be excellent tonight,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “Most importantly, I thought he just really showed good poise throughout the entire day, on the ice, off the ice.”