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Flames lose 3-1 to Blue Jackets in 1st game against Gaudreau since he left Calgary

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Patrik Laine scored on Columbus’ first shot and the Blue Jackets broke a three-game losing streak, beating the Calgary Flames 3-1 on Friday night.

The game marked the first time Johnny Gaudreau  played against the Flames since signing a contract with the Blue Jackets in the off-season.

READ MORE: Johnny Gaudreau leaving Calgary for Columbus as star forward signs with Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets’ Johnny Gaudreau, right, carries the puck across the blue line past Calgary Flames’ Elias Lindholm during the second period of an NHL hockey game Friday, Dec. 9, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Gaudreau spent nine years with Calgary, skating in 602 games with 609 points (210-399).

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Friday night also marked defenceman Erik Gudbranson’s first game against the Flames since leaving Calgary in the off-season.

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READ MORE: ‘To Calgary’: Johnny Gaudreau pens letter to Flames fans

Eric Robinson and Sean Kuraly also scored to help Columbus end a six-game home losing streak. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 12 shots in the first period before suffering a lower-body injury. He was replaced in the second by Elvis Merzlikins, who stopped 21 shots.

“We had a good start and that helped,” Blue Jackets coach Brad Larsen said. “You get a goal early on, you get one there and take a breath. We had good energy.

“This was a heck of a game by a lot of guys — a really good effort all the way through.”

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Michael Stone scored for Calgary and Jacob Markstrom stopped 23 shots in his first start after sitting out three games. The Flames had won three in a row.

Laine opened the scoring at 1:02 of the first period and Robinson made it 2-0 on a breakaway at 2:52 of the second.

“I could have had four or five tonight,” Laine said. “We were pretty happy with the way the offence was going. All four lines played good offence and defence.”

Playing with an extra skater, Stone cut the lead in half with 2:34 left in the third with a shot from the blue line. Kuraly sealed it, scoring an empty-netter with 24 seconds left.

“I think our defence struggled mightily with the puck and in coverage for the whole game,” Calgary coach Darryl Sutter said.

“Some guys came for a visit, not to try and win the hockey game. Very disappointed.”

Columbus and Calgary combined for 13 penalties, six for Columbus and seven for Calgary, but were both fruitless on the power play.

READ MORE: Calgary Flames overcome rough start to win 5-3 over Minnesota Wild on Wednesday

The Flames will play against the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Saturday night.

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