One of Johnny Gaudreau’s hockey idols was Daniel Briere while the current Calgary Flames superstar forward was growing up just across the Delaware River in Carneys Point, N.J. Should his schedule allow, Briere likely will be in attendance as Gaudreau carries a career high-tying eight-game point streak into Saturday afternoon’s tilt versus the Philadelphia Flyers.
“That’s why you buy tickets to hockey games. ... Those are the type of players that most fans want to see. They’re electrifying. They get you out of your seat,” Briere, the former alternate captain of the Flyers and vice president of hockey operations for the team’s ECHL affiliate, told the Calgary Sun. Gaudreau has scored five times in his last four contests and has six goals and eight assists during his point streak for the Flames, who were humbled on Wednesday in an 8-2 setback to Detroit to open their six-game, 12-day road trip. The Flyers ended their scoring drought at 158 minutes, 36 seconds as Jakub Voracek (team-high 11th goal) and Sean Couturier tallied 2:48 apart in the first period on Thursday, but the team’s winless skid extended to three games with a 3-2 shootout loss to Winnipeg. Voracek and Couturier each collected a goal and an assist to give them 14 (seven goals, seven assists) and 13 points (five goals, eight assists), respectively, over an 11-game stretch.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, SN1, SNE, SNO, Sportsnet Pacific (Calgary), NBCSN Philadelphia
ABOUT THE FLAMES (10-8-0): While Gaudreau’s 24 points are the most by a member of the Flames since Jarome Iginla hit that mark in 2007-08, Micheal Ferland has been on a pretty remarkable stretch of his own. The 25-year-old has scored a goal in five straight games and six of his last seven to increase his total to eight in 17 contests this season. The scoring surge likely puts a smile on the face of Calgary assistant general manager Craig Conroy, who said that Ferland could be a 20-goal scorer some day after signing him to a two-year contract in the summer.
ABOUT THE FLYERS (8-8-3): While the statistics might suggest otherwise, the performance of second overall pick Nolan Patrick in his return from a nine-game absence due to a concussion was looked upon favorably by coach Dave Hakstol. “I thought his game was good. I thought he was sharp. He was strong on the puck for not being in the lineup and coming into a pretty heavy game,” Hakstol told Philly.com of Patrick, who was 1-for-11 on faceoffs while failing to register a shot in 7:58 of ice time. Patrick will be in the lineup versus the Flames, but Radko Gudas will not be available as the burly defenseman has a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety for slashing Winnipeg’s Mathieu Perreault over the head.
1. Philadelphia’s top line of captain Claude Giroux, Voracek and Couturier has combined for 67 points overall while scoring 25 of the team’s 52 goals.
2. Calgary G Mike Smith said he will be “ready to go” after sitting out the last two games with an upper-body injury.
3. Philadelphia G Brian Elliott owns a 1-3-1 mark in his last five outings despite turning aside 144 of 151 shots for a .954 save percentage.
PREDICTION: Flyers 3, Flames 2