Flames burn Habs 5-0 to end six-game win streak
After a miserable start to the season for Johnny Gaudreau and Brian Elliott, both have played key roles in the Calgary Flames' resurgence.
Gaudreau had a goal and three assists and Elliott had 24 saves for his first shutout as Calgary beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-0 on Thursday night, extending the Flames' winning streak to eight games.
Up 1-0 after the opening 20 minutes, Gaudreau assisted on all three second period goals as the Flames blew the game open. He capped off his night with his 14th goal at 16:12 of the third period.
Head coach Glen Gulutzan was proud of his team's methodical play in the final period, preserving Elliott's first shutout with the Flames.
“No one says it on the bench, no one says the word. But everybody knew what we were playing for,” said Gulutzan. “I don't think we turned the puck over in the third. We just wanted to make sure that we were playing the right way the whole way. That was a complete game.”
Elliott, playing his finest hockey of the season, improves to 11-1-1 in his last 13 starts. He has a .931 save percentage over that span. He is 19-13-3 on the season.
“It's just fun to be on this ride right now with the guys,” Elliott said. “Personally, you want to stay playing well and feeling good seeing the puck. When the guys are playing like they are in front of you, you just stop a couple and they do the rest.”
Gaudreau has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) during the eight wins. What's made the difference has been Micheal Ferland, who joined the line with Gaudreau and Sean Monahan in the first game of the streak.
“He's been a great fit for us,” Gaudreau said about Ferland, whose second period goal gives him six goals during since the trio was formed. “We have to just keep building some chemistry and go from there.”
Monahan had a goal and an assist giving him nine points over this same stretch.
“We're playing well right now. We're playing as a group,” said Monahan. “When you come to the rink every day and it's fun like this, it makes you want to keep building on it. “
Mark Giordano and Michael Stone with his first since joining the team from Arizona, also scored for Calgary (37-26-4). The Flames play next in Winnipeg on Saturday.
The victory may have come at a price, however. Stone (upper body) and Dougie Hamilton (lower body) both left the game and did not return. Gulutzan said both players would be re-evaluated in the morning.
Montreal (38-22-8) had its six-game winning streak snapped. The Canadiens were without goaltender Carey Price (flu), who was supposed to start for the 10th time in the last 11 games but instead served as the back-up to Al Montoya—although he didn't appear on the bench.
“We looked like a tired team tonight for some reason,” said Canadiens coach Claude Julien. “Our skating legs weren't there across the board and it showed. When you don't have the energy, when your skating game's not there, the rest of your game suffers.”
Montoya, who had 33 stops, sees his record falls to 8-6-3.
“They play well in their building and they've been rolling,” Montoya said. “The second period did us in, the three goals, so it's a tough one to swallow.”
Notes: Three times before Calgary has won eight straight games. It was most recently done in November 2005... Flames franchise record for wins was 10 in a row Oct. 14 - Nov. 3, 1978, while the franchise was in Atlanta... Alexander Radulov (lower body) and Tomas Plekanec (upper body) missed their third and second games respectively for Montreal... Canadiens coach Claude Julien coached his 1,007th career game, tying him with Jacques Demers for 25th on the NHL's all-time list.