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Flames defeat Jets for 10th straight home win

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com

CALGARY -- Johnny Gaudreau has a good sense of timing.

Gaudreau had a hat trick to help the Calgary Flames to a 4-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday in each team's final game before the NHL Christmas break.

Joe Colborne scored and Karri Ramo made 19 saves for the Flames (16-16-2), who have won 10 consecutive home games to tie a franchise record set from Nov. 7-Dec. 12, 2006. Calgary has not lost at home since Oct. 30 against the Montreal Canadiens. Eight of the Flames' next nine games are at home.

"We played a great team game tonight," said Gaudreau, who had his first hat trick a year ago to the day in a 4-3 overtime win against the Los Angeles Kings. "I was fortunate to get three goals there. It's exciting. The guys are really excited to head back home and see their families. You could see how well we played tonight. It was a great effort from the whole team."

Gaudreau has 13 goals and 20 points during Calgary’s streak.

"He changes a game," Colborne said. "Every time he steps on the ice, he can be that difference-maker and there aren't too many guys in the League that can do that. You have (Patrick) Kane, you have one or two other guys, and Johnny. Everyone kept saying, 'Oh, he's kind of like a poor man's Patty Kane.' Well, he's showing he's right up there with the best players in the League. We get to see him do it every day and we see him do it in practice, but he never ceases to amaze us.”

Tyler Myers scored and Michael Hutchinson made 29 saves in his first start since Dec. 6 for the Jets (15-17-2), who have lost 12 of their past 15 road games (3-11-1). Winnipeg most recently won on the road on Nov. 27 against the Minnesota Wild.

"This team needs some rest," Jets coach Paul Maurice said. "The coach has been in a bad mood for a long time. We need some rest and some separation."

Gaudreau scored 4:28 into the game to give the Flames a 1-0 lead. Working a power play from the half-wall, Gaudreau sent a shot into the slot that redirected off the stick of Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom and behind Hutchinson. The goal was Gaudreau's 100th NHL point.

"You can't put a better tip on that first goal than we did, so I'd have a hard time fighting [Hutchinson] on that," Maurice said. "I don't think Gaudreau makes that tip. As good as he was, I don't think he makes that tip."

Calgary doubled the lead midway through the first. Colborne tipped a shot by Mark Giordano by Hutchinson to put Calgary up 2-0 at 10:23.

"Anytime you score in this League, it's exciting," Colborne said. "We've been focusing so much on getting off to a good start and getting that lead, and it was nice to finally just get that and go into the break feeling good."

Myers cut the lead to 2-1 with 4.8 seconds remaining in the period. On a 3-on-1, Blake Wheeler dropped a pass to Myers, who one-timed a shot by the right pad of Ramo. Wheeler has an assist in four straight games.

Ramo made seven saves and Hutchinson made nine in a scoreless second, including two during a 5-on-3 man-advantage late in the period.

TJ Brodie kept Calgary up one after knocking a backhand over Ramo by Drew Stafford out of mid-air and off the goal line on a shorthanded chance 4:15 into the third. Ramo stopped Mathieu Perreault cutting to the net on a partial break after his penalty expired a shift later.

Gaudreau restored Calgary's two-goal lead at 15:41. Brodie's breakaway pass hit Gaudreau in the skate, but he stripped the puck from Jets forward Mark Scheifele and lifted a quick shot short side over Hutchinson's glove to put the Flames up 3-1.

"It was a breakaway, so I was really excited to try to score a goal there," Gaudreau said. "I think the puck hit my skate, a bad bounce. Thankfully I stayed with it and found the net. Our video coach does a great job with scouting the goalies before we play him. They said this goalie likes to go down. I figured when I came in and saw him poke-check, I just tried to get it upstairs."

Gaudreau completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal with 1:49 remaining.

"This is a great time for our team," Gaudreau said. "Right now we're playing extremely well at home and we're starting to string along some wins on the road too. We've got to keep the momentum going after the break and keep pushing."

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