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Gaudreau's OT goal gets Flames past Canucks

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com

VANCOUVER -- Johnny Gaudreau scored with 1:57 left in overtime to give the Calgary Flames a 3-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday.

The Flames, who had 10 third-period comebacks last season, tied the game on Sean Monahan's goal with 11:11 remaining.

"You know how we love our third periods," said Gaudreau, who also had two assists.

Gaudreau lost the puck to Brandon Sutter in the Vancouver end, but before the latter could spring Daniel Sedin on a breakaway, Dennis Wideman stripped the puck and it went right to Gaudreau, who skated in on a 2-on-1 and put a shot past Canucks goalie Ryan Miller's blocker short side.

"You have to be careful with the puck at times," Gaudreau said of 3-on-3 overtime. "Definitely nerve-wracking. With so much time and space and ice, one costly turnover or mistake and that's the game. You've got to be smart out there. You have to be strategic about it, but it's fun."

Jiri Hudler had two assists and Jonas Hiller made 28 saves to help the Flames bounce back from a 5-1 season-opening loss against the Canucks on Wednesday.

"This was the Calgary Flames," Bob Hartley said after coaching his 100th Flames win. "Third period we were skating well, our puck possession was real good. Then in OT, just open the floodgates and watch. Johnny always wants to be the difference-maker and once again, here he is."

Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton opened the scoring on the power play with his first goal and point for the Flames five minutes into the first period. Hamilton, who was acquired from the Boston Bruins for one first round and two second-round picks at the 2015 NHL Draft, was wide open at the left face-off dot for a nice cross-ice pass from Gaudreau behind the net and had time to pick a corner far side over Miller's glove.

Two of the Canucks' youngest players got them back in the game.

Center Bo Horvat, 20, tied the game on a power play two minutes into the second period, collecting his own rebound after a couple good saves in tight and beating Hiller with a shot over the left shoulder and just under the cross bar from below the right face-off circle. It was the first power-play point for Horvat, who was rarely used on the power play as a rookie last season.

Jared McCann, a 19-year-old rookie, scored his first NHL goal a little less than 10 minutes later. Flames forward Mason Raymond, who had four shots and three great chances in the first period after being waived earlier in the week and scratched for the season opener, couldn't get the puck out at his own blue line. It ended up being sent across to McCann all alone cutting into the slot and he put a shot over Hiller's glove from the left hash mark.

"I almost blacked out to be honest," McCann said of jumping hard into the glass after scoring. "It was a great feeling, but obviously it would have been nice to end the way we wanted."

Canucks coach Willie Desjardins was upset with the way his team played in the third period.

"They played well but we gave them a lot of transition, we quit getting pucks behind their 'D' and they started coming at us," Desjardins said. "[Miller] was really good, made some big saves and it was nice to get one point, but I think that's a game you have to find a way to get two."

Miller denied several point-blank chances among his 35 saves.

He got across to glove on Michael Frolik on a shorthanded 2-on-1 one-timer late in the second period, and slid left to right to deny Gaudreau's quick shot after another cross-ice pass. But Monahan finally got one past him after being left all alone in front of the net after Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis ran into partner Matt Bartkowski in the corner. Gaudreau and Hudler quickly worked the puck out front to Monahan, who spun and got it past Miller's blocker.

"It's frustrating to have a lead in our building in the third period and give it up," Miller said. "But we're going to have to go with the good and the bad and there was some good stuff tonight."

The best came from the Flames' top line of Gaudreau, Monahan and Hudler, who controlled play for long stretches in the third period against a Canucks team missing top defensemen Alexander Edler, who was a late scratch because of the flu. Hudler and Gaudreau teamed up again in overtime, but for a group accustomed to comebacks last season, it was nothing new.

"It's not really the game plan to go down but I thought we had not a bad start," Hiller said. "Everybody in here believes, we know we've done it before, but the other way would be nicer."

Hiller, who sat in favor of Karri Ramo on Wednesday, likely earned another start with Hartley's "win-and-you're-in" plan for a three-goalie rotation that also includes Joni Ortio. The Flames host the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

Hiller certain earned the praise of his coach, as did Miller.

"Our guys responded well," Hartley said. "I thought [Hiller] gave us a huge game in net, as did Miller on their side. It was great goaltending on both parts and both teams battled hard."

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