Johnny Gaudreau paces Calgary Flames to 4-2 win over Winnipeg Jets

CALGARY — Johnny Gaudreau responded to a barb from his coach with a pair of assists for the Calgary Flames in a 4-2 win Saturday over the visiting Winnipeg Jets.

Josh Leivo, Mark Giordano, Andrew Mangiapane and Sam Bennett scored for Calgary (16-17-3), which halted a four-game losing streak.

Gaudreau, who had two goals in nine games heading into Saturday, produced his first multi-point game in a month in his 500th career NHL game.

Saturday morning, following a 3-2 loss to the Jets the previous evening, Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said “hopefully he has more energy than in his 499th game.”

“I heard it,” Gaudreau said post-game Saturday. “Didn’t think much of it. I’ve been playing hockey for 24, 25 years. I know when I haven’t played well and I know when I have played well.

“Personally, it’s been going up and down throughout this season. Obviously not finding the net sometimes and stuff like that. I try to work as hard as I can each night for the 23 guys in that locker room.

“I’ve played for a long time with a lot of those guys in that locker room. I’m sure a lot of them are really happy for me after tonight.”

Calgary is 5-5 since Sutter took over as head coach on March 8.

Gaudreau’s 17 minutes five seconds of ice time ranked second among Flames forwards behind Elias Lindholm’s 19:56.

“I thought his pace was better,” was Sutter’s assessment of Gaudreau’s performance. “Quite honestly it was his best game since I joined the team.

“He’s an elite-level player in this league, so he has to try to have his best game every game for us.”

Jets defenceman Logan Stanley earned his first career NHL goal and Mason Appleton also scored for Winnipeg (21-12-2), who trail the Toronto Maple Leafs atop the North Division by two points.

In their fourth games in six days, both clubs started their backup goalies. Calgary’s David Rittich made 22 saves for the win, while Winnipeg counterpart Laurent Brossoit turned away 29-of-33 shots.

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Calgary is at home to Winnipeg again Monday for a third meeting in four days. The Jets lead the 10-game season series 4-2-1.

Brossoit misplayed Bennett’s shot and knocked the puck into his own net with his stick at 7:48 of the third period.

“You learn over time these guys are really proud professional athletes,” Jets head coach Paul Maurice said.

“You wouldn’t say anything to anybody after a game. You’d wait, slap him in the pads the next time you’re on the ice, have a chuckle about it and move on.”

Mangiapane scored 49 seconds into the third period.

After skating a cross-ice stretch pass from Noah Hanifin into the offensive zone, Mangiapane’s wrister changed speed off the stick of Winnipeg’s Tucker Poolman and bobbled under Brossoit’s pad.

“We haven’t had much puck luck at all this whole stretch,” Sutter said. “When you don’t have a lot of pure goal scorers, you need to get that break once in awhile and we got it.”

The Flames outshot the Jets 15-7 and led 2-0 after the first period, but Appleton halved the deficit 34 seconds into the second and Stanley drew the Jets even at 6:19.

Stanley’s wrist shot went off the crossbar and behind Rittich. The six-foot-seven, 228-pound Stanley was a first-round draft pick by the Jets in 2016.

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An unchecked Appleton had time in the slot to get a shot away, and it deflected off Calgary winger Milan Lucic and over Rittich’s shoulder.

Giordano’s one-timer from the point bounced off Appleton and by Brossoit’s glove for a power-play goal with 45 seconds left in the first period.

Leivo fed Monahan from behind the net and skated out to jam the rebound past Brossoit’s left pad at 17:13.

Notes: The Jets cap a seven-game road trip, the longest of their season, Monday at the Saddledome.

Flames captain Mark Giordano is one point shy of a career 500.

Calgary defenceman Chris Tanev earned his 100th career assist.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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