Flames put on offensive clinic to take down Panthers in Tkachuk’s return to Calgary

Chants of “Hubie’s better” erupted in Calgary’s Saddledome in the third period of the Flames’ 6-2 win over the visiting Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

In a game that marked the return of former Flame Matthew Tkachuk in a Panthers jersey, the announced 17,086 enjoyed a night of both booing and lauding him, as well as celebrating the performance of a player who became a Flame because of Tkachuk.

Jonathan Huberdeau contributed a goal and an assist to Calgary’s victory as the Flames (10-9-3), improved to 5-4-1 in their last 10 games.

Dillon Dube scored short-handed and had two assists, while goaltender Dan Vladar made 30 saves.

Rasmus Andersson, Tyler Toffoli and Andrew Mangiapane each had a goal and an assist, and Brett Ritchie also scored for Calgary.

Nick Cousins and Sam Reinhart countered for the Panthers (10-9-4), who dropped to 3-4-3 in their last 10.

WATCH l Flames beat Panthers 6-2 to spoil Tkachuk’s return to Calgary:

Flames defeat Panthers as Dube leads the way

7 hours ago

Duration 0:50

Calgary beats Florida 6-2, Dillon Duble scores a short-handed goal and records two assists

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 17-of-23 shots in the loss. The Panthers had lost 4-3 in overtime the previous night to the Oilers in Edmonton.

Tkachuk spent his first six NHL seasons with the Flames.

He was coming off a career 104-point season when the 24-year-old winger told the Flames in the summer he wasn’t interested in signing long-term.

Calgary acquired Huberdeau, defenceman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt and a conditional draft pick from Florida in a blockbuster deal.

Tkachuk was booed Tuesday whenever he touched the puck, but the winger also received a partial standing ovation during a video tribute to him early in the first period.

“Just passionate fans here,” Tkachuk said. “It’s obviously nice to see that video.

“A couple seconds of showing what my time was like here on and off the ice, it was nice to see.”

Tkachuk had two shots on goal and his blast in the third period required a sharp save from Vladar to prevent a Panthers goal.

Huberdeau, who played 10 seasons for the Panthers, scored on the power play in a three-goal first period for the Flames.

Bobrovsky stopped the winger on a breakaway with just under five minutes remaining in the game, but Huberdeau collected his rebound and dished the puck out to Toffoli to score Calgary’s fifth goal with a one-timer.

That sparked the Saddledome’s vocal comparison of him and Tkachuk.

“I didn’t hear that. That’s kind of funny, obviously,” Huberdeau said.

He was named the first star of the game.

‘At the end of the day, it’s a hockey trade’

“He’s a hell of a player,” Andersson said. “At the end of the day, it’s a hockey trade and it’s a trade that works out for both teams. We get Weegsy and Hubie who are hell of a players and Florida gets a really good player as well.”

Huberdeau scored in the shootout round when the Flames edged his former team 5-4 on Nov. 19 in Sunrise.

“I’m glad it’s over the year and now we can just focus on the season,” Huberdeau said.

After three unanswered goals in the opening period, the Flames led 4-2 heading into the third despite getting outshot 21-14.

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