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Calgary Flames overtake Carolina Hurricanes for 3-2 victory

Carolina Hurricanes goalie Pyotr Kochetkov, left, blocks the net on Calgary Flames forward Blake Coleman during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY — Blake Coleman's short-handed winner and a 28-save outing by Dustin Wolf helped the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 come-from-behind win Thursday over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes.

Trailing 2-0, the Flames scored three times in the third period. 

Calgary (11-12-3) gave up the first goal an eighth straight game and for the 13th time in 17 dating back to Nov. 1. The Flames have managed to go 9-6-2 since that date.

"Flames' recipe right there," Coleman said. "That's just the way it's going. Guys stuck with it and fought back. We're doing everything we can to start better."

"Guys are searching for ways to do it, but it's a results business. It's a win in the column for us, so it's important."

Coleman produced the short-handed winner at 11:44 of the third period. Rasmus Andersson and Connor Zary both scored in an 81-second span starting at 5:42 in front of an announced 16,983 at the Saddledome.

Calgary's power-play was booed in the second period — the Flames went 0-for-3 in the game — but the building energized in the third as the hosts mounted a comeback.

"To know that you have that ability to come back in games late in the year is important because last year we didn't have that ability," Coleman said. "If we can figure out the ways to get ahead of teams and hold on to leads . . . there's really only two ways to have to win in this league and we've got one of them down pretty dang well. 

"If we can figure out the other half, we're going to be in good shape." 

Stefan Noesen and Michael Bunting had a goal apiece for the Carolina Hurricanes (14-11-1). 

Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 24 shots a night after he was pulled early in a 6-1 loss to the Oilers in Edmonton, and where captain Jordan Staal had called the team's performance "all-around crap".

Carolina looked destined for a recovery win in Calgary before letting the game slip away for a third straight loss.

"There should be a huge sense of urgency going into a period like that, especially when you've got a two-goal lead to close it out," Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook said.

"For us to sit back and let them come, we didn't have any pushback. Especially where we're at right now, I don't know. It's hard to fathom. We're in a rut right now."

Wolf's third career start was against the most prolific club in the league in shots on net, and the stingiest in shots allowed.

"He's got an unflappable swagger, if that makes any sense, where whether he's let five or six in, doesn't change him. If he lets one in, it doesn't change him. If he lets none in, it doesn't change him," Flames head coach Ryan Huska said. 

"He obviously grew up the right way or learned some lessons early on as a goaltender on how to turn a page and flush it if something goes by because he does a really good job at that."

Calgary successfully challenged for goaltender interference what would have been Sebastian Aho's equalizer with just under five minutes remaining in the game.


The 22-year-old Wolf, who was called up Tuesday, improved to 2-1 in three NHL starts. 

The American Hockey League's most valuable player and top goalie last season had played almost two periods in relief of Dan Vladar in Tuesday's 5-2 loss to Minnesota.

Which goalie can assert himself in Jacob Markstrom's absence has been the buzz around the Flames since Markstrom fractured a finger on his right blocker hand in Monday's practice. Markstrom's status is week-to-week.

Wolf received a loud ovation when he drew Tuesday's game and heard a lot of support Thursday at the Saddledome.

"It's pretty special right?" the Californian said. "Any time you get a call to come play with Calgary, it's a blessing. Try to take every moment and make the most of it and try and have a smile on my face while I'm doing it."


Calgary concludes a six-game homestand Saturday afternoon against the New Jersey Devils.

The Hurricanes continue their nine-game road swing Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2023.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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