At some points I was watching him and feeling like a fan. He is so good at creating room for himself. He is a good worker. It’s a sign that he’s growing in this organization. - Bob Hartley
CALGARY, AB -- A toe thwarted Johnny Gaudreau and the Calgary Flames.
In his first career appearance in the shootout, Gaudreau stepped over the blue line before throwing several fakes and tucking the puck around Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. But it didn’t stand.
Price got a piece of the initial deke.
“He made a great move,” the Canadiens goaltender said. “He had me totally beat and I just stuck my leg out and fortunately I had enough to stop the momentum of the puck. A game situation that’s a great goal but those aren’t the rules in the shootout.”
Price stopped all three Flames shooters. He also kicked aside 37 of 38 shots against to stop Calgary’s stretch of seven straight victories over the Canadiens at Scotiabank Saddledome.
But Gaudreau was a thorn in his side throughout Calgary’s 2-1 loss.
The shootout was one of several near misses for Gaudreau, who recorded an assist and was named the game’s third star.
Just 1:12 into the second period, Gaudreau corralled his own rebound on an odd-man rush but was stuffed short on a wraparound attempt. Mikael Backlund poked the loose puck over the line, but not before Price had knocked the net off to negate the goal.
The very next shift, Gaudreau spotted Mark Giordano alone in the high slot and fed the Flames captain for his second of the season.
Gaudreau continued to excite, feeding a behind-the-back pass by a sprawling Alexei Emelin and between the legs of PK Subban before getting to Paul Byron, but Price went post-to-post to make the stop on the Flames forward.
It was all in a day’s work, coach Bob Hartley admitted.
“Johnny Gaudreau was buzzing,” he said. “He was fun to watch, even from the bench. At some points I was watching him and feeling like a fan. He is so good at creating room for himself. He is a good worker. It’s a sign that he’s growing in this organization.”
Gaudreau and the Flames couldn’t squeeze another by Price, who earned his fifth straight win and seventh in eight starts this season at Calgary’s expense.
“We had a few PP's at the end,” Gaudreau said. ”It's something we're trying to get better at. We started out slow and it's something we're going to have to get better at.”