No stage appears too big for Andrew Mangiapane as he continues his ascent in the hockey world.
With all eyes on the brand-new UBS Arena on Hockey Night in Canada, the 25-year-old Flames winger continued to steal the show with a pair of power-play goals in a 5-2 win over an energized Islanders squad.
So impressive is Mangiapane’s 14-goal spree to sit second only to Leon Draisaitl, his second consecutive two-goal outing managed to overshadow the fact that Jacob Markstrom essentially stole this one.
More on him in a bit.
Tipping in point blasts on two separate power-play units to put the Flames up 3-1 early in the second period, Mangiapane now finds himself sandwiched between Draisaitl and Alex Ovechkin on the NHL goal-scoring list.
Only Draisaitl has more than the four game-winning goals Mangiapane has.
Coupled with his seven goals in seven World Championship games as tourney MVP, he’s unquestionably the world’s hottest goal scorer.
He’s certainly the top Canadian, which will only fuel the ongoing debate over whether he can sustain the type of momentum that may just land him alongside the country’s best in Beijing.
“I’m playing with good players and they’re finding me the puck right now, and I just happen to put them home,” said Mangiapane, when asked about setting a franchise record for the quickest 13 road goals in a season.
MARKSTROM DOMINATING … AGAIN
Brock Nelson may have been the only one to solve Markstrom on this night, with a pair of goals, but the Islanders centre was stymied early and often by the Flames netminder.
Had he not made a pair of great stops on Nelson in the first period, the complexion of the game might have been altered.
By night’s end, four of Markstrom’s 34 saves came on Nelson shots, simply adding him to the lengthy list of frustrated forwards around the league.
Markstrom sits second in the league with a sparkling 1.71 GAA and .942 save percentage, trailing only Toronto’s Jack Campbell in both categories.
His workload was heavy on Saturday, especially while down a man on six occasions, when he stopped eight of nine shots.
PARTY POOPERS AT USB
Showing signs of fatigue late in what was the team’s sixth straight road game, the Flames held on to a 3-2 lead until Trevor Lewis and Johnny Gaudreau scored empty netters to send the first-ever gathering at Belmont’s UBS Arena home unhappy.
Built next to Belmont Park racetrack at a cost of $1.5 billion, the rink’s christening didn’t start off as well as the 17,255 on hand had hoped.
Milan Lucic forced a turnover that Brad Richardson converted into a 1-0 lead four minutes in, giving the Flames the early lead every game of this road jaunt.
“It was a nice way to quiet them down early,” said Richardson.
“Thirty years from now my name will come up, so that’s always nice.”
Combine a typically raucous New York crowd with a historic opening and the atmosphere was something the Flames knew they’d have to battle.
“Kind of cool to play in,” said Mangiapane.
“You could feel the energy the first time you went out there. I think we almost fed off that energy.”
The Flames wrap up their seven-game roadie in Boston Sunday.