Gaudreau, Markstrom help Flames beat Canucks 1-0 in OT
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Johnny Gaudreau scored 29 seconds into overtime and the Calgary Flames beat the Vancouver Canucks 1-0 Saturday night.
The Flames got the deciding goal when Gaudreau took a drop pass from Elias Lindholm and fired it into the low corner past Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko on a slap shot from 25 feet out.
“I know Thatcher very well and I scored a couple times high glove on him last year.” Gaudreau said. “Had the opportunity to score a couple times on the high glove (tonight) so I think he knew it was coming. So then on the overtime goal, I switched it up and went blocker side and found a way to beat him there.”
Gaudreau has seven goals and 15 assists in 12 games since the Flames returned from an 18-day break in the schedule due to a team COVID outbreak.
Jacob Markstrom had 15 saves for his seventh shutout of the season — second in three games — and 15th of his career. The Flames, who have totaled nine shutouts, won their third straight at home and for the fourth time in six games overall.
“I’m never gonna complain of getting not enough shots,” Markstrom said. “We’re playing really good defensively and I think we needed that, and I needed to step up my game as well from last game in St. Louis (5-1 loss). So a good bounce back.”
It was the Flames’ first 1-0 overtime victory since Blair Jones scored the winning goal in a win over Anaheim on Jan. 12, 2012.
Demko finished with 31 saves for the Canucks, who have lost four of five (1-1-3). Vancouver was shut out for just the second time this season.
It wasn’t the effort Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau was expecting after Vancouver opened a four-game road trip with a 5-1 win over the Jets on Thursday.
“It was like we were skating in quicksand all night long,” he said. “I don’t know what the reason was. We’ll try to find that out tomorrow, but it definitely didn’t have near the energy that we had when we played Winnipeg.”
Markstrom’s best stops came in the opening minute of the third period when Bo Horvat found open space down the right wing, but Markstrom got a blocker on it.
It was Horvat’s first game back after missing five games in COVID protocol. The Canucks’ captain centered a line with Elias Pettersson and Conor Garland.
Also just out of COVID protocol and making his first start since Jan. 18 was Demko, who missed four games.
The game was scoreless at the end of regulation despite a 31-15 edge in shots for Calgary. Flames coach Darryl Sutter liked how his team didn’t get frustrated.
“It’s about preparation mentally,” said Sutter. “There’s always bad calls, bad goals, things like that. And you have to be able to stick with it. Doesn’t mean you win all the time, but if you have that winning attitude, in the long run it will help, especially some of our young players.”
Scoreless through 40 minutes, Calgary enjoyed the best chances of the first couple periods. At 14:22 of the second, Gaudreau was awarded a penalty shot after he was hooked from behind by Luke Schenn while on a breakaway. However, Demko got an arm on Gaudreau’s rising attempt on the penalty shot, deflecting the puck over the net.
The Flames got a golden opportunity early in the game to surge ahead. Thirteen minutes into the first period, Vancouver defenseman Tyler Myers was assessed a match penalty for a check to the head after his heavy hit along the end boards on Trevor Lewis shook up the veteran Flames forward.
But up against the league’s worst-ranked penalty kill, Calgary only mustered two shots and wasn’t able to create any dangerous chances while allowing the Canucks to register their only shot of the period – a backhand by Tyler Motte.
The Flames finished 0 for 4 on the power play. Vancouver was 0 for 3. The Canucks got two power plays in the last half of the third period, but failed to generate a shot on either.
NOTES: Vancouver D Tucker Poolman (upper body) did not play after getting injured last game. Taking his spot was Noah Juulsen. ... It was the first of four meetings between the two clubs, who faced each other 10 times last season.
Canucks: At Chicago on Monday night to continue a four-game trip.
Flames: At Dallas on Tuesday night to open a two-game trip.