The timeliness of its objectives was also there.
As Andrew Mangiapane’s official maturity took place last June in Latvia, the World Championship MVP sandwiched that effort with impressive stats.
Combine his last four games of last season with his first five this year, and the 25-year-old Flames winger has scored 10 goals in his last nine NHL outings.
Add seven goals in seven games for Team Canada, and outside of playoff scoring god Brayden Point, Mangiapane is the world’s leading scorer in that span.
The Barrie Colts scored two more goals in the Flames’ 5-1 win at Madison Square Garden on Monday, including a game-changer early in the second period.
Less than a minute after Jacob Markstrom maintained a 1-0 lead as he opened the second period with a dramatic save on Filip Chytil, Mangiapane’s forward failure prompted a Rangers turnaround which he buried in front of the starter of Rangers Igor Shesterkin.
“It’s either a 1-1 game or a 2-0 game – there’s a huge difference,” said Markstrom, whose 28-save performance was also key to the Flames’ third straight win. .
“Darryl (Sutter) has talked about it, and so have I – as a goalie it’s about timely saves, especially in this league. When the other team pushes you have to make one or two saves and then Mango finished it there to make it 2-0. It was a big goal for us, for sure.
It is the third game-winning goal he has scored in the Flames’ last nine games.
“Mango” is certainly a new nickname for the man who inspired a fan to toss a loaf of bread at the opening night of the Saddledome Ice Cream.
His confidence is also something that has evolved, which he attributes to a scoring frenzy that saw him drop two points from the NHL lead with five in five games.
“With every game I play now, my confidence grows,” said Mangiapane, who was second on the team with 18 goals last year.
“I think when I first came into the league I was a little bit shy about making a game or maybe playing it safe and contributing. Now I’m just trying to play my game. Play with confidence. You have to play with confidence in this league and right now the puck is coming in for me. “
In hockey, as in life, you make your own luck by working hard and doing the things that lead to success.
Mangiapane’s relentless determination as the most tenacious chess-forward player on the team resulted in plenty of chances for the sixth-round pick, as did his penchant for hanging out in an area where most of the players from 5ft 10in doesn’t thrive: around the net.
He scored his second of the night from there on the power play with five seconds left, when he circled a puck shot away from the net and placed it in a gaping net from the doorstep.
“He’s really good around the net,” said Darryl Sutter when asked how Mangiapane was able to score so many goals this way.
“I think he has a great work ethic. He has good hands. Even the game at the end, it comes off the boards. A lot of guys aren’t going to make this game. They’re either going to linger in it or not have it. It’s a good package for us.
BIG NIGHT FOR COLEMAN
After a shutout in Detroit on his last outing, Markstrom’s first success saw him extend his shutout streak to 105 minutes before Dryden Hunt made it a 2-1 game at the start of the third.
However, the Flames ‘best line of control strengthened to thwart the Rangers’ momentum with a goal from Blake Coleman that ultimately preserved the victory.
“It was huge,” Mangiapane said of Coleman’s second as Flame, followed three minutes later by Coleman’s setup for Mikael Backlund’s first.
“The crowd kind of got interested after we scored that goal so we had to pump it up. It was a big goal that Coles scored, and Backs called it with another. It was nice that we kind of answered that. And that’s what we’ll need for the rest of the season.
Coleman’s two-point night featured eight shots on goal, a game-high.
In total, Coleman, Backlund and Tyler Pitlick combined 13 of the team’s 37 shots, proving that a good defense can be a solid offense.
Perhaps more to the point, a good defense has a lot to do with a great goalkeeper, which Markstrom has provided in the last two games, after a shaky start.
The Flames are now 26-3-2 when they have scored three goals since last year, emphasizing defensive efforts like these where Markstrom was asked to make some timely saves like the one that ‘he performed in the opening breakaway of the match by Artemi Panarin.
“I think we’re playing really well and I’m playing better too,” said Markstrom, whose club won all three games on the five-game road trip that stops in New Jersey on Tuesday.
“I was not very happy with my start to the season. You challenge yourself to be better every day and work on your craft and right now I’m getting rebounds. “