Flames’ dy­namic duo strikes again

Play­maker Gau­dreau sets up Mon­a­han for over­time win­ner against Cana­di­ens

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - WES GILBERT­SON wgilbert­son@post­media.com Twit­ter.com/WesGil­bert­son

Cal­gary Flames head MON­TREAL coach Glen Gu­lutzan was think­ing pass … to an­other guy.

Johnny Gau­dreau is oh so dan­ger­ous in three-on-three over­time, and as the su­per­star left winger en­tered en­emy ter­ri­tory dur­ing Thurs­day’s bonus pe­riod at Bell Cen­tre, it seemed like ev­ery­body in the build­ing had one eye­ball on Flames blue liner TJ Brodie, his pass­ing op­tion on a two-on-one rush.

Gau­dreau, though, had spot­ted his buddy Sean Mon­a­han trail­ing the play. Mon­a­han coverted Gau­dreau’s pass to score the game-win­ner as Cal­gary’s dy­namic duo clinched a 3-2 over­time tri­umph against the host Mon­treal Cana­di­ens.

“When that play was go­ing on, I’m just hop­ing that Johnny is go­ing to make the play over to TJ,” Gu­lutzan said.

“I was, ‘C’mon, make it, make it, make it.’ And all of a sud­den, Monny is there out of nowhere, and I’m like, ‘Ok, that’s bet­ter.’ And then it goes in.”

With Mon­a­han, it al­ways seems to go in.

The 23-year-old al­ter­nate cap­tain tal­lied twice Thurs­day and now has a team-lead­ing 17 goals, five of the game-win­ning va­ri­ety.

“I was just think­ing, ‘I bet­ter score, be­cause Johnny will be up­set if I don’t,’” Mon­a­han said.

“When Johnny has the puck there, he has pa­tience like no other. I ac­tu­ally thought on that one that he wasn’t go­ing to pass it to me. He wasn’t even look­ing at me. And then at the last sec­ond, he gives it to me and I had an open net. That’s the treat of play­ing with Johnny.”

And what were the rest of the guys think­ing?

“I think, if you watch the bench when Johnny had the puck go­ing down, the whole bench stood up,” said Flames right winger Gar­net Hath­away, who scored a key goal of his own and was sport­ing the Cal­gary Po­lice Ser­vice cow­boy hat in a ju­bi­lant locker-room.

“You know Johnny is go­ing to make a play. And you know Monny doesn’t re­ally miss from there.”

It was a happy end­ing to a twogames-in-two-nights get­away for the crew from Cal­gary, who re­turn home with three of a pos­si­ble four points and now own a 15-12-2 record on the sea­son.

Mak­ing just his sec­ond start at the NHL level, backup net­min­der David Rit­tich out­du­eled Habs stal­wart Carey Price with a 35save per­for­mance.

With less than two min­utes re­main­ing in reg­u­la­tion, Rit­tich stood his ground as Shea We­ber — the three-time reign­ing win­ner of the hard­est shot com­pe­ti­tion at the NHL’s an­nual all-star week­end — un­corked a slap­per.

Price wasn’t easy to solve, ei­ther, but Thurs­day’s turn­ing point was un­doubt­edly a suc­cess­ful chal­lenge by the Flames on Hath­away’s ty­ing tally at the 7:49 mark of the third pe­riod.

Trail­ing 2-1 at the time, the Flames swarmed Price’s crease af­ter a wrap­around at­tempt, with Hath­away, Sam Ben­nett and Mark Jankowski all jam­ming away.

The puck fi­nally trick­led across the goal-line, but it was im­me­di­ately waved off by the ref­eree on the scene.

The ze­bras con­gre­gated for a chat and con­firmed the ini­tial call, an­nounc­ing no goal due to “in­ci­den­tal con­tact” with the masked man.

With video coach Jamie Pringle in his ear, Gu­lutzan wasn’t buy­ing it.

The Flames chal­lenged and af­ter a video re­view, of­fi­cials changed their mind. Good goal. Hath­away, re­called last week from the Amer­i­can Hockey League’s Stock­ton Heat, was cred­ited with his first big-league bingo of the sea­son.

Gu­lutzan cel­e­brated with a fist pump.

“We were jacked up af­ter that sec­ond goal,” Gu­lutzan said. “We just told our guys be­tween the sec­ond and third — ‘Lis­ten, this is go­ing to be off some­body or it’s go­ing to be jammed in. We have to find a way to get to that net,’ and Hath and Benny and those guys did it. We got a lot of juice af­ter that.”

Mon­a­han opened Thurs­day’s scor­ing with a su­perb in­di­vid­ual ef­fort.

He won a face­off back to Flames cap­tain Mark Gior­dano and then made a bee­line to­ward the blue paint in search of a re­bound. Al­though his first ef­fort squirted wide, he cor­ralled the puck and scored on a low shot that banked off Price’s glove.

No­body will be talk­ing about that marker, though. Not af­ter his lat­est game-win­ner. Daniel Carr and Phillip Danault scored for the hosts.

Next up for the Flames is Satur­day’s date with the Van­cou­ver Canucks at the Sad­dle­dome (8 p.m., CBC/Sport­snet 960 The Fan).

Ice chips: Flames RW Jaromir Jagr missed a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive con­test due to a nag­ging lower-body in­jury … The Flames were also without LW Matthew Tkachuk, who served a one-game sus­pen­sion for Wed­nes­day’s spear­ing in­ci­dent in Toronto.

GETTY IM­AGES

Habs goalie Carey Price hugs the post as Micheal Fer­land cruises through his crease in pur­suit of the puck dur­ing Thurs­day night’s ac­tion in Mon­treal. The Flames beat Mon­treal 3-2 in over­time.

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