CALGARY, Alberta — Propelled by Noah Hanifin’s biggest game as a Flame, Calgary turned in its most complete effort of the season.
Hanifin had a goal and two assists, and the Calgary Flames scored four times in the second period to beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 Thursday night.
Hanifin completed his first three-point game with Calgary and the fourth of his career. It came in the first game after coach Bill Peters, frustrated with his team’s inconsistent play all season, shuffled all three of his defensive pairings.
Hanifin’s only partner since he was acquired by the Flames two seasons ago, Travis Hamonic, moved to the top pairing, alongside reigning Norris trophy winner Mark Giordano. Hanifin’s new partner was Rasmus Andersson, promoted from the third pairing.
“Sometimes it’s good to freshen things up a bit and play with someone new,” the 22-year-old Hanifin said. “Things were running a little stale for a bit so I thought that helped tonight.”
Derek Ryan, Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau also scored for Calgary. Elias Lindholm had an assist to extend his point streak to nine games.
“That was a big step for our team to play a whole, solid 60 minutes. I don’t know if we’ve done that at all,” Backlund said.
Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist for New Jersey, and Nikita Gusev also scored.
The Flames won their second straight to open a four-game homestand and improved to 6-1-1 at home this season.
David Rittich made 21 saves for Calgary. Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 33 shots.
Hanifin’s points came on three consecutive goals after Gusev gave the Devils a 2-1 lead at 5:21 of the second.
On the tying goal, Hanifin showed poise in carrying the puck from the blue line along the sideboards and around the back of the net before centering a perfect pass to Monahan, who one-timed his fourth of the season. It was just the second goal in 17 games for the perennial 30-goal scorer.
The go-ahead goal by Backlund at 14:53 deflected off Devils captain Andy Greene.
The Flames power play struck again with 14 seconds left in the second. Hanifin’s shot from the blue-line beat Blackwood, who was screened by Milan Lucic.
Gaudreau put the game away in the third, getting behind Matt Tennyson and scoring on a nice backhand.
“We had a pretty good first there. The second, once again, we started trying to play a little too much east-west instead of a north-south, direct game like we’ve been doing quite well here lately,” Greene said. “We didn’t sustain enough pressure in the offensive zone. We were kind of one-and-done.”
Having Hanifin and Hamonic separated caused a good-natured stir in the Flames dressing room.
“All the guys were calling us ‘The Inseparables,’” Hanifin said with a chuckle. “Tonight we were separated so we were getting it from the guys tonight. But I thought he was great with (Giordano) tonight and I thought me and (Rasmus Andersson) had some good success, too.”
NOTES: Hughes has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his last eight games. … Flames D Michael Stone returned to the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last seven games.
Flames come back to top Devils, 5-2