"Deft, delicate, deadly."
Those words were used by Sportsnet announcers to describe the heroics of Calgary Flames rookie Johnny Gaudreau, whose goal with 19.5 seconds left in regulation tied Game 3 of the Western Conference Second Round.
Left Wing - CGY
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 7
SOG: 18 | +/-: -2
Forward Mikael Backlund
's first Stanley Cup Playoff goal 4:24 into overtime gave the Flames a 4-3 win against the Anaheim Ducks
on Tuesday, but it was Gaudreau who lit the fuse for Calgary to trim Anaheim's lead in the best-of-7 series to 2-1. After being outscored 9-1 in two losses at Anaheim, Calgary won its first second-round game since 2004, the most recent time it advanced to the Stanley Cup Final.
Coincidental penalties to Calgary's Matt Stajan and Anaheim's Simon Despres, and a delay of game call to Anaheim's Sami Vatanen, gave the Flames a power play that became a 5-on-3 advantage when goalie Karri Ramo went to the bench for an extra attacker. After the Ducks cleared, Flames defenseman Kris Russell began the rush and found Gaudreau off the half-wall. Gaudreau stopped, skated inside the faceoff circle and patiently picked his spot to beat Anaheim goalie Frederick Andersen over his shoulder.
The goal gave Gaudreau his first point in the second round and was the latest tying goal in Flames playoff history since Robert Reichel scored at 19:13 of the third period on May 9, 1995 against the San Jose Sharks, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Gaudreau, a finalist for the Calder Trophy, leads the Flames with three goals and seven points in the playoffs after his 64 points (24 goals, 40 assists) tied for first among rookies in the regular season.
"It's exciting," Gaudreau said. "A lot of guys in this locker room played really hard tonight and I was just happy to help contribute a little bit, get the guys in overtime and [Backlund] got a huge goal there for us."
The win was Calgary's third in the playoffs when trailing after two periods, tying Anaheim for the NHL postseason lead. The Flames were third in the League with 10 victories during the regular season when trailing after 40 minutes.
Game 4 is Friday at Scotiabank Saddledome (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).
"There's no words anymore to talk about this group," Flames coach Bob Hartley told the Calgary Herald. "They never quit. They keep believing."