EditorsNote: Tweaks 5th, 6th grafs; other small tweaks
Johnny Gaudreau’s hat trick paced the Calgary Flames to a 4-1 win over the host Winnipeg Jets on Thursday night in a game that featured the top two teams in the Western Conference standings.
Gaudreau opened the scoring in the second period. After Winnipeg’s Adam Lowry tied the game late in the middle period, Gaudreau put the Flames back in front 54 seconds later.
Mark Jankowski padded Calgary’s lead late in the third period with a short-handed goal, and Gaudreau sealed the win with an empty-net tally. Sean Monahan had three assists for the Flames, and Elias Lindholm contributed two helpers.
Calgary goalie David Rittich stopped 35 of 36 shots to improve to 12-4-2. Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 25 of 28 shots but saw his record slip to 16-10-1.
The Flames snapped a three-game losing streak (0-2-1) while the Jets absorbed only their second loss in the past nine games (7-2-0).
The scoreless first period featured outstanding goaltending as Hellebuyck and Rittich took turns coming up with a series of impressive saves. The Jets outshot the Flames by a 14-7 margin.
Gaudreau eventually opened the scoring on a delayed penalty at the 1:04 point of the middle frame. His scoring volley, assisted by Monahan, caromed off Patrik Laine’s stick to fool Hellebuyck.
Lowry intercepted an errant pass from Alan Quine and whipped a wrist shot past Rittich at 17:53 of the second to tie the contest. It was his sixth goal of the season.
Gaudreau quickly restored the Flames’ advantage when he completed a give-and-go with Lindholm at 18:47. Monahan earned the secondary assist on the play.
In the third period, the Flames relied on stellar work from Rittich to escape with the decision. Derek Ryan was penalized for hooking with only 4:44 to play, but it was the Flames who scored when Lindholm fed a pass to Jankowski, who converted his fifth goal of the season at 15:39.
Gaudreau’s third goal of the night and 19th of the season, at 17:54, came off assists from Monahan and Mark Giordano.
—Field Level Media