PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jiri Hudler scored 1:23 into overtime to give the Calgary Flames a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
The Flames won for the second time in six games as they try to make a push in the Western Conference playoff race.
It was a successful homecoming for 21-year-old rookie and New Jersey native Johnny Gaudreau, who had hundreds of fans in attendance. Gaudreau assisted on the winning goal, helping the Flames rebound after blowing a 2-0 lead.
Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund scored for the Flames.
Sean Couturier and Mark Streit both scored in the third period for Philadelphia.
Trying to get back into the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Flyers gamely rallied in the third. Couturier scored his 13th goal early in the period to cut it to 2-1.
The Flyers appeared to get the tying goal minutes later as Nick Schultz crashed into goalie Karri Ramo. But after the officials huddled for several minutes, the no-goal call stood because Schultz made incidental contact in the crease with Ramo before the puck crossed the line.
Ramo went down the next time the Flyers were near the crease and this time the tying goal counted. Streit’s tip-in for his ninth goal evened the score at 2 and sent the net flying.
Monahan scored his 22nd goal of the season 6:30 into the game on a slap shot from the right circle. Backlund’s seventh of the season made it 2-0 in the second, and Ramo made it stand for a while with 22 saves through two periods.
The win belonged to Calgary. The night belonged to Gaudreau.
Gaudreau, out of nearby Carney’s Point, grew up a huge Flyers fan and played last season at the Wells Fargo Center for Boston College in the Frozen Four. He even played in the youth hockey games at the arena staged during Flyers intermission — when he wasn’t rooting on the orange-and-black from the stands.
“We went to a ton of games. It’s definitely going to be a little weird,” Gaudreau said before the game.
Gaudreau has stamped himself as one of the top rookies in the NHL and entered third on the team in points with 44. He had two assists in the NHL All-Star game.
“I’m getting a ton of scoring chances,” he said. “We’re playing well. It’s definitely a little bit more of an adjustment going from 40 games to an 82-game season. It’s something I need to learn throughout my pro career.”
He expected several hundred fans to attend the game, even some from his old high school. Gaudreau had his No. 3 jersey retired by his Gloucester Catholic high school team on Monday night.
“It was exciting for me, getting to head back to my old high school and see a ton of teachers that really helped me,” he said.
Gaudreau, just 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds, moved on to Boston College where he led the NCAA last season with 36 goals and 80 points. He won the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player and earned a familiar nickname — “Johnny Hockey.”
The Flames also won their first game without captain Mark Giordano. The defenseman tore a biceps muscle near the end of the Flames’ 3-1 win in New Jersey last week. He went down awkwardly after getting twisted off balance while attempting to fire the puck down the ice. The All-Star defenseman, who had a team-leading 37 assists, will miss the rest of the season.
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