CALGARY – Matthew Tkachuk's playmaking ability was full-screen on Friday night when he got his first five-point career.
Tkachuk scored his 31st and 32th goals and all three of his assistants were the primary helper to lead Calgary Flames to a 5-1 victory over the New York Rangers.
Tkachuk had 10 points (six goals, four assists) on Flames perfect 3-0-0 homeland that moved Calgary back to the first in the Pacific Division ahead of San Jose.
"Of course when I have the puck on my stick and guys come to the net, I want to play," said Tkachuk, who was also a plus-five. "I'm not thinking of myself as a shooter or a passerby, I'm just someone trying to read the game and make the best possible game."
His game that everyone had to talk about was his set-up to Johnny Gaudreau 10 minutes into the game to open the score.
Tkachuk looked like a football star, and came from behind the net and leaned a long high pass in the air, which jumped straight to Gaudreau on the Rangers blueline and ran him on a break that he nicely finished for his leading 34th goal.
"I saw Johnny fly and I saw the defense and they didn't look at me, so if I threw it up in the air, it wasn't as if he could turn around, catch it and come back, so I just thought it was better "I rip hard and see if it goes past him," said Tkachuk. "It was so happily bouncing, it just landed and ended. Johnny went in and made an incredible move. "
Flames coach Bill Peters says Tkachuk is a game maker.
"He does subtle, little smart games, plays off the wall, plays where he protects it and uses his body to protect the puck, he's smart," Peters said. "Just a really smart and instinctive player, but much of it is just as he goes about the game. He is a student of the game and he looks better every time he goes on the ice."
The hot strike comes after a prolonged cold stretch where he only had six points in the previous 18 games.
Calgary moves a point in front of the Sharks with 11 games to go each. The flames also lead the Western Conference, nine points up at Winnipeg Jets, which they play on Saturday night.
They will be without Sean Monahan, who does not make the trip. He left the match after a period of illness.
Garnet Hathaway and Michael Frolik also did for Calgary (44-20-7).
Neal Pionk did for New York (28-30-13). The Rangers put together a four-player trip (0-1-2) in Minnesota on Saturday.
"They touched the puck around smartly. They had some guys who did some really nice games and we only had no answer for that," New York defender Marc Staal said.
"It's hard in these situations not to let it snowball. I thought we came down and couldn't get anything to go after it."
Tied 1-1 after 20 minutes, Tkachuk Flames gave the lead for good 2:56 into others when he declined Mark Giordanos point shot past Alexandar Georgiev.
Just over a minute later, Tkachuk earned his 100th career aid, and set up Hathaway in front of doing it 3-1.
It was all offensive support that David Rittich needed, which folded 24 pages to improve on 25-7-5.
Georgiev made 27 saves to fall to 10-12-3.
New York coach David Quinn was not happy with his club's effort.
"We have been a team that has played hard but big things. You should play hard in the National Hockey League. You are a professional athlete. You shouldn't pat your back because you played hard. It should be expected We didn't play hard tonight. We didn't really play smart tonight. "
Remarks: Tkachuk has 73 points in the season and joins Gaudreau, Monahan and Elias Lindholm in the 70-point club. The last time Calgary had four 70-point players was 2006-97 (Jarome Iginla 94, Alex Tanguay 81, Daymond Langkow 77, Kristian Huselius 77).