CALGARY — Dillon Dube’s overtime winner for the Calgary Flames capped Johnny Gaudreau’s eventful return to the Saddledome on Monday. Dube ended Calgary’s back-and-forth with the Columbus Blue Jackets after 2:25 of overtime with a 4-3 win.
CALGARY — Dillon Dube’s overtime winner for the Calgary Flames capped Johnny Gaudreau’s eventful return to the Saddledome on Monday.
Dube ended Calgary’s back-and-forth with the Columbus Blue Jackets after 2:25 of overtime with a 4-3 win.
Gaudreau had two assists, missed a penalty and was constantly wrecked by Flames fans in his first game in Calgary since leaving for Columbus as an unrestricted free agent last July.
“The fans are very passionate. They care a lot about our team and they showed that tonight,” said Dube. “They take great care of us, so we appreciate that. It felt really good to win for them tonight.”
Calgary led 2-0, 3-2 in the second period, but the Blue Jackets wouldn’t sit still.
Gaudreau tangled with Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin and went down in overtime in Calgary’s zone, opening a lane for Andrew Mangiapane to feed Dube a two-on-one for the winner.
Mangiapane had one goal and two assists, and Walker Duehr and Nazem Kadri also scored for the Flames (23-16-9).
Calgary goaltender Dan Vladar made 21 saves for his second win in as many starts, while fellow Columbus player Joonas Korpisalo made 45 saves in the loss.
Patrik Laine led the Blue Jackets (14-31-2) with one goal and two assists. Kirill Marchenko and Boone Jenner also scored for Columbus, who sits at the bottom of the NHL table.
Gaudreau, who ranks fifth all-time in Flames franchise points with 609, was greeted by boos and mocking “John-ny” chants the moment he stepped onto the ice.
“We knew it was going to be such an environment. Johnny put in an excellent game,” said Brad Larsen, Blue Jackets head coach. “The boys struggled. We had some problems with puck management, no question.”
Gaudreau was awarded a penalty five minutes into the opening period when Calgary defender MacKenzie Weegar hooked him on a breakaway.
A wave of boos followed the left winger’s approach to the net and intensified as he shot the puck up and attempted to hit the top corner of the net.
A video tribute minutes later roused many in the crowd of 17,697 to acknowledge Gaudreau’s eight seasons of service with the Flames, but that goodwill was short-lived.
“I think it just shows what a good player he was and how important he was to this organization because you don’t get that kind of reaction when you’re not that important,” said Dube.
The Blue Jackets were called up to many men with just over six minutes left in regulation, but Calgary didn’t convert the lead into a goal.
‘I’ll leave it to you to see. If you tell me there are too many men, I’ll buy you dinner,’ said Larsen.
Jenner made it 3-3 at 4:34 of the third period when he decided to shoot for a two-on-one with Gaudreau.
Trailing 2-0, Columbus equalized midway through the second period with two power-play goals in 49 seconds before Mangiapane put Calgary ahead again, 16-17.
The Blue Jackets’ power play demonstrated Gaudreau’s puck distribution skills. He bounced the puck to Laine, who dropped to her knees to press a shot from Vladar at 9:53 of the second period
Marchenko scored when he ripped Gaudreau’s cross ice pass over Vladar’s glove at 9:04.
Calgary’s Milan Lucic and Blue Jackets winger Mathieu Olivier traded shots in the 2-2 draw.
“Looch’s fight certainly put us back where we needed to be,” said Dube.
Kadri’s team-leading 19th goal gave Calgary a 2-0 lead by 1:32 of the second period. The Flames’ goal celebration at 16:18 of Duehr’s first period was delayed.
His one-timer from just over the faceoff spot was quickly deflected off the inside of Korpisalo’s block that it was unclear where the puck was until officials fished it off the back bottom of the net.
Duehr, who was called up by the Wranglers from the AHL for the first time this season on Jan. 7, has scored two goals in six games.
Flames defender Chris Tanev left the game midway through the first period after colliding in the neutral zone.
The Flames have picked up at least a point in Vladar’s last 12 starts, with a 9-0-3 record since November 29. It’s the longest active scoring streak this season among NHL goalies.
The Blue Jackets have played six rookies and a half-dozen regulars on injured reserve in their last 16 games, including Jakob Voracek (concussion) and Zach Werenski (labrum tear), both out for the season.
The Flames play the Chicago Blackhawks (14-27-4) at home on Thursday and the Seattle Kraken on Friday before their All-Star break.
Columbus continues a four-game Western road trip against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday. The Blue Jackets are going 3-16-1 this season.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 23, 2023.
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press