CALGARY, Alberta (AP)Calgary native Logan Thompson made his first career start in his hometown and helped the Vegas Golden Knights earn a crucial 6-1 victory over the Flames on Thursday night.
The 25-year-old Thompson made 35 saves, and the Golden Knights remained in the hunt for a playoff berth with seven regular-season games remaining in their season.
”It’s something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” Thompson said. ”Really excited and couldn’t be happier.
”I had my brother and my sister here and a couple friends from growing up. Happy they could make it tonight.”
The Golden Knights (41-29-5) are two points behind the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators, holding down the Western Conference’s wild-card berths with 89 points apiece.
Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson each had a goal and two assists for Vegas. Jack Eichel, Evgeni Dadonov, Michal Amadio and Nicolas Roy also scored. Mattias Janmark had two assists.
The Flames (45-20-9), leading the Pacific Division, needed a single point to clinch a playoff spot.
But the Golden Knights scored six unanswered goals, including four in the second period.
”We’re obviously a more desperate team than they are as far as the standings go,” Knights head coach Peter DeBoer said.
Flames starter Jacob Markstrom was pulled at 9:04 of the second period for Dan Vladar after allowing four goals on 17 shots. Vladar turned away six of eight shots in relief.
It was the second straight abbreviated game for Markstrom, who was replaced by Vladar after giving up three goals in the first two periods of Tuesday’s 5-3 win over the Seattle Kraken.
”I don’t like doing that,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said. ”I’m not a guy who pulls goalies. I think tonight was different. The other night was trying to get some momentum out of our team because it was after the second period.
”Tonight, I thought the players really let him down. I didn’t want to leave him in there.”
Dillon Dube scored for Calgary.
Thompson’s 11th career start was also his 13th appearance in an NHL game. He went 6-3 over a stretch in late March, when both Robin Lehner and Laurent Brossoit were injured.
”I think he won four in a row prior to Lenny coming back and then we ran with Lenny to try and get him back up to speed because he’s missed some time,” DeBoer said. ”L.T. came in and did a great job in a tough building.
”We haven’t had a lot of success in this building and he was real solid for us.”
A pair of Flames’ turnovers 40 seconds apart led to a 4-1 Vegas lead by the midpoint of the second period, and the swap of Markstrom for Vladar.
”They’re a very, very desperate team fighting for their lives,” Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk said. ”The season they’ve had, we know they’re a way better team than what the standings show.
”If you want to go far this year, it’s going to have to go through them. It’s unfortunate we dropped the ball against them tonight, but hopefully we get another crack at them.”
Golden Knights: At Edmonton on Saturday.
Flames: Host Arizona on Saturday night.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports