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Calgary Flames

Gaudreau scores pair, adds assist in Flames win over host Kings

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Johnny Hockey came to play and he didn’t disappoint.

Johnny Gaudreau factored in on all three Calgary Flames goals, scoring the opener 10 seconds into the game and the game-winner late in the second period to pace his team to a 3-2 win over the host Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.

It was an important* win for the Flames, who ended a three-game winless slide with the victory. In the process, Calgary gained more of a cushion on second-place Los Angeles, increasing their Pacific Division lead over them to five points.

(* All wins are important, especially this time of year)

First goal came early

Gaudreau opened the scoring with a fortuitous chip shot from the corner that fooled Kings goalie Cal Petersen and bounced into the net off the back of his leg.

The Kings replied and took the lead late in the first period, with leading scorer Adrian Kempe scoring a pair just more than five minutes apart for his 30th and 31st goals of the season.

Midway through the second frame, the Flames pulled even after Gaudreau took time from behind the net to find Elias Lindholm for the tying goal, Lindholm’s team-leading 35th of the season.

A minute later during a line change, centre Ryan Carpenter took advantage of a flub along the boards by Kings defenceman Tobias Bjornfot to feed Gaudreau in the slot for the eventual winning goal.

Gaudreau now has 34 goals and 61 assists for 95 points in 2021-22.

Trio of third-period penalties killed off

Key to the third period for the Flames: staving off the buzzing Kings on three power plays in a row in the frame’s latter half, including a somewhat questionable four-minute call late in the game — with the Kings’ net empty — to Matthew Tkachuk for high-sticking Kings centre Phillip Danault.

Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom made some key saves with the Kings furiously pressing at six-on-four to help ice the victory. He finished the game with 27 saves.

Next up for the Flames: more fun in the California sun with back-to-back games in Anaheim on Wednesday and in San Jose on Thursday.

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