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flames 4, bruins 0

Dan Vladar shuts out his former team as Flames end long road trip by stifling Bruins

Calgary's Noah Hanafin skates by a dejected Bruins bench after scoring in the second period.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Calgary Flames had every reason to be out of gas. Their trip to TD Garden on Sunday night was the last stop on a seven-game road trip.

It was the second half of a back-to-back after ruining the Islanders’ long-awaited new arena opening the night before. But Bruce Cassidy knows Flames coach Darryl Sutter well enough to expect the Flames to play the last leg of their trip like it was the first.

“We know what Calgary’s all about,” Cassidy said. “They’re not in our division, but they’ve been through the East here twice now, so you’re seeing them. They’ve got six or seven shutouts for a reason. They work hard to keep the puck out of the net.”


They closed out their East Coast swing with a 4-0 win by doing the dirty work the Bruins didn’t.

Former Bruin Dan Vladar made 27 saves to earn the shutout in his return to Boston.

The breaking point came in the third period. The Bruins were still within striking distance, down 2-0. They were on a power play thanks to a holding call against Juuso Valimaki. Patrice Bergeron was trying to create along the right side, but had the puck stolen by Noah Hanifin in his own zone. The Flames raced the other way with Andrew Mangiapane leading the break.

Mangiapane pushed the puck up to Dillon Dube, who had his first shot stopped by Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman but got his own rebound. His second attempt was stuffed, too, but before Swayman could get reinforcements, Mangiapane punched in his 15th goal of the season to give the Flames a 3-0 lead.

“You try to make the first save and you battle,” Swayman said. “I actually don’t know how it went in. I looked back and they were celebrating. It’s kind of unfortunate, but you don’t want to give up shorthanded goals, especially in the third period. So disappointed with that.”


Getting off that many shorthanded attempts was backbreaking.

“They got outworked,” Cassidy said.

Swayman had the worst home start of his career, giving up four goals.

Prior to the loss, Swayman was 8-0 at home with a .945 save percentage and 1.24 goals-against average. He had never allowed more than two goals in a home start.

Erik Haula and Calgary's Oliver Kylington eye a high-flying puck during the third period of Sunday's game at TD Garden.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Mikael Backlund added some insurance with a goal at 4:18 of the third. With about five minutes remaning, fans started to stream out of the Garden to spare themselves the sight of the Bruins getting blanked at home for the first time this season.

The Bruins’ top line is one of the most respected in the league — not only for its explosiveness but its versatility.

But Calgary’s top trio has been one of the most productive early in the season. According to leftwinglock.com, the combination of Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, and Elias Lindholm had churned out 11 goals going into Sunday’s matchup, good third in the league.

The group got to work quickly against the Bruins, finding the net at 1:29 of the first period.

Valimaki fired a shot from outside the left circle that Swayman stopped with his pads, but Gaudreau cashed in on the rebound.

Gaudreau’s eighth goal of the season gave the Flames an early lead on a night when the Bruins searched endlessly for scoring chances from a hole too deep to escape.


Bergeron was the only top liner to get a shot off in the first period. Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak combined for just four all night.

Nick Foligno leaps to try and screen Calgary goalie Dan Vladar on a second-period Boston shot Sunday night at TD Garden.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

“The top guys did not have a good night in any area of the game and that’s an area that could’ve helped us,” Cassidy said.

When the Bruins started putting shots on net in the second period, the Flames muzzled any momentum when Hanifin capitalized on another rebound for his first goal of the season and a 2-0 Calgary lead.

“I think the few that we had were usually a second-chance shot on net rebound trying to get work inside,” Cassidy said. “We’re clearly off net a lot. That’s been a problem all year. When you’re not getting that many, it gets magnified in a game like this.”

The Bruins had three power-play opportunities and came up empty. Giving up the shorthanded goal was crushing.

“I think the power power play really hurt us,” Cassidy said. “We didn’t generate any momentum on them. If anything it generated momentum for them.”

Fans vie for a puck tossed over the glass by Karson Kuhlman during warmups prior to Sunday's game.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Flames, who started their road trip with losses to Montreal and Toronto, picked up their third straight win and fourth in five games. Meanwhile, the Bruins had their three-game win streak snapped and have time to regroup before facing the Sabres in Buffalo on Wednesday.

“We have an identity,” Cassidy said. “But we’re still working on it to be that team every single night.”

Julian Benbow can be reached at julian.benbow@globe.com.