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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

Red-hot Johnny Gaudreau extends scoring streak as Flames beat Washington for second time this season

by ARI YANOVER @NHLFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

Johnny Gaudreau just won't stop scoring.

Thanks to his and linemate Sean Monahan's efforts, the Flames came out on top of Washington Capitals, 4-1.

Gaudreau, Monahan, Mikael Backlund, and Mark Giordano each scored a goal for the Flames, while Mike Smith stopped 29 of 30 shots in the win.

"He's an elite goalie," coach Glen Gulutzan said following the game. "There's no other way to say it. He's an elite goalie. He's one of the top goalies. There's no question about it in my mind."

Lars Eller netted the Capitals' lone tally, and Braden Holtby stopped 35 of 39 of the shots he faced.

It was the Capitals who got on the board early. Just over a minute in, Jakub Vrana swooped around the Flames' net. He found Eller coming down the side wide open, and dished it off to him. Eller made no mistake, popping the puck over Smith's blocker for the early lead.

Once things got settled, though, the Flames began to take over.

Gaudreau got his team on the board just under five minutes into the game. Monahan chipped the puck right up to him, and Gaudreau was off, having plenty of time and space to work with as he fired the puck far-side, over Holtby's blocker, and in to tie the game.

"Confident, right?" Gulutzan said of Gaudreau's current 10-game scoring streak. "He's confident. I'm going to say it again, what a coach likes more is his backcheck on Ovi that lifted the stick. I know he's going to get points because he's just that gifted, but his commitment to winning just shows itself night in and night out."

Video: Smith, Flames take down Capitals, 4-1

In the second period Gaudreau returned the favour, assisting on Monahan's goal. With Eller in the box for hooking, the Flames caught the Capitals in a goal-mouth scramble around Holtby's net. Monahan found the loose puck and fired it into a wide open net to give the Flames their first lead of the game.

"I think it's cool," Gaudreau said of the offensive success he's found this season. "The line's playing well, we're not giving up goals in the defensive zone, we're creating chances in the offensive zone, we're playing well on the powerplay. So like I said, you know, things go well for you at times, and then, you know, throughout the season you go through some ups and downs, so right now it's going good for us."

A pair of goals in the third period added to the Flames' lead. First, it was Backlund capitalizing off of some outstanding puck movement while Brett Connolly was sitting in the box for high-sticking Dougie Hamilton.

Holtby gave up a big rebound on Hamilton's shot, and Backlund made no mistake in making sure it went in the back of the net.

Former Flame Alex Chiasson took a slashing call right when Backlund scored. Just as the powerplay expired Giordano made the Capitals pay, with Jaromir Jagr screening Holtby on his blast from the point.

The Flames, meanwhile, killed all three of the penalties they took on the night.

"They did a great job tonight, especially with the Caps' powerplay," Gaudreau said of the Flames' penalty killers. "Obviously some of the best powerplay guys in the league on that first (Washington) unit, and I think they did a great job getting the pucks out when they needed to be, and some big blocks, and Smitty did a great job in net.

"So they did a great job cleaning that up, and it was a big reason why we won tonight, was the PK."

ONE-TIMERS: Gaudreau stays hot, now riding a six-game goal streak, and 10-game point streak - the last five of which have been multi-point games. He has seven goals and 19 points in that time … With his 10th goal of the season, Gaudreau became the third NHLer to reach 30 points this year … Backlund has scored 99 career goals … The Flames have scored seven powerplay goals over their past four games.

NEXT UP: Now halfway through their longest road trip of the season, the Flames are off to Columbus for a Wednesday game against the Blue Jackets (5 p.m. MT). They'll close things out with back-to-back contests in Dallas (Friday, 7 p.m. MT) and Colorado (Saturday, 8 p.m. MT).

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