Calgary Flames: Johnny Gaudreau scores hat trick, reaches career-high

This game took a rather unexpected turn in the third period, but we’re not complaining. The Calgary Flames beat the New Jersey Devils 9-4.

Well, this was fun. After being down 3-1 early in the second period and down 4-3 heading into the third, this game took a wild turn. With three goals in 1:56 to start the third period, the Calgary Flames scored three more after that to beat the New Jersey Devils 9-4.

Johnny Gaudreau scored a hat trick and reached a new career-high in goals and points. With his first goal and first point of the game. He ended up reaching six points which is the first time a Flame has done that since Al MacInnis in 1994 and the first in the NHL since 2013.

Sean Monahan also recorded four points tonight and the top line had a combined total of 12 points. And you all were worried about them!

Mark Giordano reached 50 assists tonight and became the fifth defenceman in franchise history to record that amount in a single season. Matthew Tkachuk scored the Flames ninth goal of the game to reach the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career. Overall, this was a great game for the team.

Let’s check out how the Flames got here tonight.

Previous: Matthew Tkachuk scores first hat trick in win over Vegas

First period

Early in the first period, David Rittich was forced to make a great save which led to a scoring chance the other way. A pass from Elias Lindholm over to Sean Monahan who got it to Johnny Gaudreau who snuck behind the Devils defenders, he went five-hole on the backhand for the 1-0 lead. Seems like nobody told MacKenzie Blackwood that that’s the move Gaudreau literally always uses on breakaways huh?

That broke Gaudreau’s nine-game goalless drought, his 31st goal of the season, and his 85th point. That’s now a new season-high in goals and in points.

The Calgary Flames continued to have the majority of the chances, but the Devils still had a couple of decent chances.

With under five minutes to go, TJ Brodie got the puck over to Michael Frolik which led to a great rush with him and Mikael Backlund. Blackwood made a great save which was bad news for the Flames. Brodie had the puck at the blueline, gave it away and the Devils went down on a two-on-zero breakaway. Blake Coleman fooled Rittich into thinking he was going to go five-hole but lifted the puck instead on the backhand to tie the game.

After that goal, the Devils continued to press hard. With under two to go, after two consecutive icings for the Flames and their inability to clear the zone, Damon Severson shot the puck and with a weird tip-in from Kyle Palmieri that took a weird bounce, the Devils were up 2-1.

Although the Flames outshot the Devils 11-8 that period and outplayed them at 5v5, they found themselves down at the end of this period.

Second period

Less than a minute into the period, Kenny Agostino snuck through, basically split Brodie and Mark Giordano and made it 3-1. After that goal, it seemed like the Calgary Flames really woke up and pressed quite hard.

A little over seven minutes into the period, Giordano did a great job of keeping the puck in the zone and battled for the puck behind Blackwood’s net. As Sam Bennett was coming off the bench, Giordano quickly got the puck over to him as he was in front of the net to cut the lead to one.

A few minutes later, the Flames top line was out there. Monahan won the puck battle down low, soon after got the puck over to Lindholm as Blackwood made a great save on his initial shot. He found his own rebound and tied the game.

The Flames continued to press after that goal before the Devils answered back with a bit of pressure for themselves. With under three to go, the Flames were applying pressure which led to their first powerplay of the game.

On that PP, Travis Zajac was fed the puck and went on a shorthanded breakaway, scored, and gave the Devils the lead again. This period finished 4-3 for the Devils. The Devils outshot the Flames 12-11 that period but the Flames still had the advantage at 5v5 in terms of attempts and chances.

Third period

To start the period, Rittich made a great save which showed to be even bigger a few seconds later. As Derek Ryan shot quite an innocent shot on Blackwood, most likely just trying to dump it to get a change in, it took a very odd deflection off a Devils defender and it arc’d into the net for the tie game just 41 seconds into the period. With an assist from Giordano on that, his second of the night, he reached 50 assists and became the fifth defenceman in franchise history to record that amount in a single season.

20 seconds later, Gaudreau was taken down on a breakaway and it led to a penalty shot. Not going to lie, I was quite worried because it’s Gaudreau and it’s a penalty shot. But I love being wrong! He went far-side and gave the Calgary Flames the lead.

About a minute and a half later, Gaudreau got the puck again and went down on a two-on-one breakaway with Ryan. He passed it over to Ryan who gave the Flames the 6-4 lead. That’s now three goals in 1:56, we’re less than three minutes into the period. Gotta say, I did not see that coming, but I’m not complaining.

It quieted down a little bit for the next few minutes, but the Flames continued to press and were completely dominating this period. Pretty wild what three goals in 1:56 will do for your team’s morale, hey?

12 minutes into the period, after receiving a pass from Monahan, Gaudreau went on the backhand and scored again, his third goal of the game. That’s a hat trick! Which led to everyone in the stands chanting his name.

After that goal, the Flames did not let up. In fact, they continued to press harder. With under two to go, Gaudreau dangled around some Devils defenders, got the puck over to Monahan who gave the Flames an 8-4 lead. With an assist on that, Gaudreau has now reached six points in this game, the first time a Flames player has done that since Al MacInnis in 1994. He’s also the first player in the NHL to do this since 2013.

They still weren’t done, though.

Just 16 seconds later, Matthew Tkachuk made it 9-4, and with an assist from Oscar Fantenberg, that’s his first point as a Flame! That’s also Tkachuk’s 30th goal of the season.

Next: Are the Flames built for playoff success?

This game finished 9-4 for the Calgary Flames as they outshot the Devils 39-26. Sorry, Blackwood.

Overall, this was a great win for the team and a great game for the top line who desperately needed a game like this.