Johnny Gaudreau tied his career-high in goals with 30 back on February 20th, but that was his only goal in his last eighteen games. “I wish I could find the net a little bit more in the last few games,” said Gaudreau after yesterday’s morning skate, “but […] I’m getting my looks, I’m getting my chances.” Last night against the Devils, those looks continued to come and this time, he took advantage. He scored the game’s first goal to finally get the monkey off his back. He added an assist in the 2nd, but the floodgates opened in the third.
Gaudreau posted a season-best seven inner slot shots over the course of the game and added two goals and two assists in the final frame alone, turning what was a close game after two in a 9-4 blowout. His inner slot shots total is not just a personal best. In fact, only two players all year have done better than Gaudreau in a game this season.
Usually, Gaudreau is the one finding Sean Monahan for those high-danger chances, but Monahan returned the favor yesterday with primary assists on both his non-penalty shot goals. Gaudreau scored with his patented 5-hole backhand move twice, first by using his speed to burn his man…
…And then by sneaking behind a defense that got caught puck-watching:
It was also the league’s first six-point game since Jaime Benn in 2013. Not a bad way to get back on the scoresheet for Johnny Hockey. Gaudreau led the way for a total domination of the inner slot shot battle from the Flames. He actually won the battle by himself, getting nearly half of Calgary’s 18 high-danger shots to the Devils’ 4. Just like for Gaudreau, that performance was topped only twice all season; by the Lightning (19) and by Colorado (21). Calgary is now just one point behind the Sharks for the lead in the Pacific Division with a 4-game losing streak to kick off March, but with two straight wins and performances like that, they’ll be back on top in no time.