CALGARY — Johnny Gaudreau had a hat trick and had a career-high six points as the Calgary Flames scored six times in the third period for a 9-4 comeback victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday.
Derek Ryan scored 41 seconds into the third to tie it 4-4 and then Gaudreau was hooked from behind on a breakaway by Damon Severson, resulting in a penalty shot.
Gaudreau made no mistake, slowly winding his way in before ripping a shot past Mackenzie Blackwood.
Gaudreau capped off his big night at 12:01, converting a set-up from Sean Monahan, and sending hundreds of hats pouring onto the ice.
Ryan finished the night with two goals, Sam Bennett, Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk and Monahan also scored for Calgary (43-20-7). Lindholm and Monahan both finished with four-points nights.
The Flames remain one point back of the Pacific Division and Western Conference-leading San Jose Sharks, who won 5-4 in Winnipeg.
Blake Coleman, Travis Zajac, Kyle Palmieri and Kenny Agostino scored for New Jersey (25-36-9). The Devils are winless in their last seven (0-6-1).
Making it three goals in less than two minutes, Calgary went ahead 6-4 at 2:37 when Ryan was set up neatly by Gaudreau on a two-on-one. Holding onto the puck patiently, Gaudreau froze Blackwood and the Devils defenceman, before sending the puck across to Ryan who had a wide-open net to put the puck into.
Gaudreau, who entered the night with just one goal in his previous 19 games, surpassed both of his previous highs of 30 goals and 84 points in a season. He’s now up to 33 goals and 90 points this campaign.
After falling behind 1-0 five minutes into the game, Coleman’s breakaway goal was the first of three straight goals for the Devils.
After coughing up a 3-1 lead earlier in the second, New Jersey re-gained the lead at 17:49 of the second on Zajac’s short-handed goal.
David Rittich had 22 stops for the win to improve his record is 24-7-5.
Blackwood made 30 saves. He fell to 6-8-0.
Down 3-1, Calgary battled back to tie on goals three minutes apart from Bennett and Lindholm.
At 7:17, defenceman Mark Giordano on the forecheck, won a puck battle and centred a perfect pass that Bennett one-timed past Blackwood.
On another set-up for Monahan, Lindholm jammed in his own rebound to tie it 3-3.
Calgary struck first when its slumping top line connected. Sent in alone on a nice pass by Monahan, Gaudreau made a slick move and tucked the puck through Blackwood’s pads.
Notes: Michael Stone (blood clot) rejoined the Flames after a conditioning stint in the American Hockey League. His last NHL game was Nov. 11. Along with Oliver Kylington and Dalton Prout, that makes three extra, healthy defencemen.
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press