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CENTURY CHASE

Gaudreau looking to join storied group of Flames legends by reaching 100-point plateau in regular-season finale

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

It's a select, illustrious, name-in-fluorescent-lights-above-the-marquee cast of star-spangled leading men who've reached the milestone here in the past:

Nilsson. Mullen. Loob.

MacInnis. Bullard. Fleury.

To maybe put the exclusivity of the number into clearer perspective, though, take a peek at a few names that didn't hit the century-points plateau over a season while donning the Flaming C:

Iginla. Nieuwendyk. McDonald.

Gilmour. Roberts.

Only three Hockey Hall of Famers and a recently retired icon waiting to be ushered in on first-ballot availability.

So yeah, 100 points carries some serious sparkle.

On Saturday, in his final bid, Johnny Gaudreau goes after Nos. 99 and 100 in Game 82 against the Edmonton Oilers.

What better way for him - and 19,000 plus - to celebrate Fan Appreciation Night? Against what better opponent?

Why, should it happen, point No. 100 would shimmer and shake ol' Scotiabank Saddledome to its very foundation and provide a perfect segue into the post-season party.

 

Video: "I'm just looking forward to the last game"

 

"Not many players get the chance to do it," acknowledged Gaudreau following practice Friday. "Only four or five players get to this year. A couple more are pretty close, too.

"I try not to think about it. The more you think about it … you'll never probably get it. So tomorrow I just want to go out and have fun.

"It'd be exciting if I get but it'll be a good year if I get there or not. A special year.

"And the fun's just about to start."

Not since Fleury a full 26 years ago has a Flame ascended the 100 mountaintop.

"You always want guys to get milestones," said captain Mark Giordano. "Especially if he gets one early I think you'll see guys trying to look for him.

"But he's the guy who looks for other people and that's how he gets his points. So we don't have to worry about it too much."

Assistant GM Craig Conroy was on site, of course, when Iginla twice reached 96 and hit his career high of 98 during the '07-08 campaign.

"A hundred points," Conroy marvelled, "is amazing. For anybody. In any era. A special number.

"For whatever reason, the way the game has gone, there are a lot more 100-point players now. For a few years there, the scoring leader didn't even reach 100. And before that guys like Gretzky, Lemieux, Jagr, Hullie, Bossy just tore it up, right?

"So it goes in cycles. Different eras.

"Hey, it's fun that scoring's up but it'd also be fun to have a 100-point guy. It's been a while since it happened here.

"But I remember when Jarome was going for the scoring title and the second Rocket Richard Trophy - and it's tough. A battle. I mean, they know on the other side what's at stake and they'll do everything they can to stop you."

 

Video: "I'd like them to play if guys are able to play."

 

Stopping, or even slowing, the Johnny Gaudreau bullet train

"It would," concurred winger Michael Frolik, "be a great milestone. Something special.

"What a season for him. He's such an important part of our team. It would be nice if he could pull it off the last game."

As someone who's developed a reputation for jaw-dropping theatrics, the task should be right up Gaudreau's alley.

"We can downplay it, say: 'Ah, no big deal,'" tut-tuts Conroy. "But of course we want Johnny to do it. And of course he wants to do it, too.

"Who wouldn't?

"On the other side, if he doesn't get there it's still an unbelievable year. Amazing. That's not in question, no matter what happens (Saturday).

"But you're so close to 100 - it's right there, in front of you - might as well just go out and get it.

"That's probably what he's thinking, too."

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