The seats in T-Mobile Arena were more than half-empty when the final two Calgary Flames goals were announced.
Thursday’s result had long been decided. But the Flames kept pouring it on anyway.
Calgary matched a season high with seven goals to defeat the Golden Knights 7-2 in front of an announced crowd of 18,207. The Knights, after not giving up more than three goals in their previous 12 games, set a season high in goals allowed.
Right wings Blake Coleman and Tyler Toffoli each scored twice in the rout that brought the Flames within three points of Winnipeg for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Knights’ four-game winning streak was snapped. Their lead on Los Angeles for first place in the Pacific Division shrunk to one point with 13 games to go.
The Knights briefly had hope in the second period.
They trailed 2-0, but rallied behind goals from defenseman Zach Whitecloud and left wing Reilly Smith. Goaltender Jonathan Quick made a great short-handed stop earlier in the frame to keep the Knights within striking distance.
That promise proved to be fleeting.
Coleman scored off a deflection in front only 1:23 after Smith’s goal to put the Flames back in front. Center Mikael Backlund extended Calgary’s lead to 4-2 when he scored from behind the goal line 8:40 into the third period .
His shot deflected off defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and past Quick, who gave up six goals on 29 shots faced to lose for the first time in five starts with the Knights.
The Flames didn’t stop there.
Toffoli scored off a rebound when Quick stopped left wing Andrew Mangiapane on a breakaway. Coleman got an empty-net goal to make the score 6-2 with 4:17 remaining. Then right wing Dillon Dube, 28 seconds after Quick got back in the crease, added one final goal for the road.
The victory was Calgary’s first at T-Mobile Arena in nine tries. The Knights suffered their most lopsided defeated of the season, and gave up more than five goals for the first time.
Here are three takeaways from the loss:
1. Injury updates
Goaltenders Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit, who are both on injured reserve with lower-body injuries, are skating again.
Coach Bruce Cassidy said both are progressing well but are unlikely to dress Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Center Nicolas Roy, who has missed the last 11 games with a lower-body injury, has resumed skating as well. Cassidy said right wing Keegan Kolesar could start skating next week after missing three straight games with an upper-body injury.
Goaltender Adin Hill is not skating, Cassidy said. Hill has missed the last five games after aggravating a previous lower-body injury.
2. Cotter drops gloves
Rookie left wing Paul Cotter’s first NHL fight, against defenseman Troy Stecher in the second period, had some collateral damage.
Cotter’s jersey ripped while he was trading punches with Stecher. Cotter didn’t even go to the penalty box. He left for the locker room to get a fresh sweater and served out the last few minutes of his sentence behind the Knights’ bench.
3. Smith stays hot
Smith had a goal and an assist to extend his point streak to seven games, matching his career high.
The 31-year-old has three goals and six assists in that span. He’s gotten a lot of help from his center William Karlsson, who has six points in the same stretch.