Gaudreau, Flames score 4-2 comeback victory over Maple Leafs

CALGARY – Johnny Gaudreau had his first two-goal game of the season as the Calgary Flames scored three times in the opening three minutes of the third period for a 4-2 comeback victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Gaudreau tied it 2-2 just 19 seconds into the third, whipping a wrist shot past Frederik Andersen after being set up by Mikael Backlund.

Then, after Michael Frolik’s third goal in as many games at 1:59 gave the Flames the lead, it was Gaudreau again with his ninth of the season — deflecting Travis Hamonic’s point shot through Anderson’s legs. The three goals came on three consecutive shots.

Hamonic also had a goal Calgary (18-12-4). Sean Monahan had a pair of assists to extend his point-streak to eight games (5 goals, 5 assists).

The red-hot Flames improve to a perfect 7-0-0 under interim head coach Geoff Ward and move into a tie with the Edmonton Oilers for second in the Pacific Division, just two points back of the Arizona Coyotes.

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Mitch Marner and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist for Toronto (15-14-4). The Leafs fall to 2-1-0 on their four-game road trip, which concludes Saturday night in Edmonton.

Shortly after the Flames surged in front, Toronto got a 1:34 two-man advantage, but they could not take advantage with David Rittich standing tall for Calgary — twice making big stops off Tavares. Auston Matthews also put a shot off the post.

Rittich finished with 32 saves to improve to 15-7-4.

Andersen made 20 saves in falling to 15-8-3.

Tied 1-1, Marner’s fifth goal of the season at 14:06 of the second gave the Leafs the lead. The right winger completed a slick give-and-go with Tavares, by ripping a shot into the top corner.

After falling behind early, Calgary tied it 1-1 at 16:23 of the first. Hamonic snuck in from the point, took a cross-ice pass from Monahan and beat Andersen with a high shot inside the goal post.

Toronto struck first at 8:24 of the first period when Tavares went top corner, over Rittich’s blocker, after being set up in front by Marner.

Notes: Flames LW Sam Bennett (upper body) missed his 12th game, but he’s back skating with the club now… The Leafs lost in regulation for the first time (11-1-2) when leading after two periods. Meanwhile, the Flames improved to 5-11-2 in games in which they’re trailing after two periods.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2019.

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