Flames score four in first period, defeat Maple Leafs

Aaron Vickers  - Correspondent | Friday, 03.13.2015 / 11:50 PM

CALGARY -- No captain, no problem for the Calgary Flames.

The trio of Sean Monahan, Jiri Hudler and Johnny Gaudreau combined for four goals and nine points to pace the Flames 6-3 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

Drew Shore and Mikael Backlund also scored for the Flames, who haven't let the loss of captain Mark Giordano dampen their Stanley Cup Playoffs aspirations. Calgary improved to 5-1-1 in the absence of Giordano, who sustained a torn biceps muscle in late February that required season-ending surgery. The Flames (38-25-5) moved into second place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of the idle Vancouver Canucks.

"[Giordano] is a huge part of our team," Monahan said. "I think with him out some guys have to step up. Right now we're trying to be those guys and right now it's working for us. We're kind of doing it for him. He is a big part of our team. He's our captain and he means a lot to us. We're trying to step up and get the job done here for him."

During their individual six-game point scoring streaks, Monahan, Hudler and Gaudreau have combined for 16 goals and 30 points. Hudler's three-point night gave him a team-high 60, two more than his previous career-high, and Monahan has extended his career-high to 27 goals and 51 points. Gaudreau, in his first season, is tied for the rookie lead in scoring alongside Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators with 53 points.

"We're playing well right now," Gaudreau said. "We're feeling a little more with each other as each game goes on. The chemistry is there. For me, it's the chemistry. When you get to play with a player or a few players throughout the whole season, you just feel really comfortable with them on and off the ice. You learn more and more about them and where they're going to be at on the ice and that's what we're doing right now."

The trio drew praise from coach Bob Hartley.

"They're unbelievable," Hartley said. "They're fun to coach, and they're fun to watch. They're moving so well, and they're creative. They're responsible, they're playing the right way, and it's as simple as this. They're picking up tons of points playing the right way, and that's why we're winning games."

David Booth scored twice and Richard Panik added another goal for the Maple Leafs (27-36-6), who have one win in their past five games and one road win in 2015, 3-2 against the Florida Panthers on March 3.

"Obviously they have a lot to play for on their side," said goaltender James Reimer, who finished with 22 saves. "They're battling for two points for a playoff spot. It's a tight race over there. We're fighting for our jobs and trying to prove to people we still want it and still have our pride."

It didn't take long for Calgary's top threesome to get going against Toronto.

On their third shift of the game, Hudler one-timed a pass from Monahan and beat Reimer but hit the post. However, Gaudreau circled out from behind the net and swatted the rebound into the net at 5:06 for his 19th of the season and a 1-0 lead.

Shore scored his first as a member of the Flames two minutes later, but Panik deflected Morgan Rielly's power-play point shot behind Jonas Hiller at 8:47 to cut Calgary's lead to one.

The Maple Leafs received an excellent opportunity to pull even or perhaps go ahead when Calgary's Lance Bouma was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct at 10:05 for kneeing Brandon Kozun. Instead, the Flames blew the game open with a pair of shorthanded goals.

Backlund broke up a zone entry between Peter Holland and Jake Gardiner at Calgary's blue line and raced up ice on a breakaway, beating Reimer to stick side at 11:40 to give the Flames a 3-1 lead. About three minutes later and with the Flames still down a man, TJ Brodie sprung Monahan, who deked Reimer before lifting a wrist shot over the goaltender to give Calgary a 4-1 lead.

"I think that five-minute kill was huge for us," Monahan said. "Us scoring on those goals there and doing it for [Bouma] was big for us. That kind of helped us throughout the game."

It took the Flames 1:29 into the second period to build on that lead.

Knocking down a stretch pass at the blue line, Gaudreau dropped the puck to Hudler, who in turn fed Monahan. The second-year center snapped his second of the game and team-leading 27th of the season past Reimer to give Calgary a 5-1 lead.

"We are clicking," Monahan said. "All our games are a little bit different. [Hudler] is a playmaker and Johnny, he's got speed and can make plays as well. With us together, we like to talk and sort things out out there. We're getting the job done."

Booth got one goal back when his shot redirected off Flames defenseman David Schlemko and between Hiller's legs at 4:56. But the Flames struck again at 8:16 when Hudler redirected a slap-pass from Dennis Wideman behind Reimer for a power-play goal.

Booth got his second of the night and sixth of the season 29 seconds into the third period, skipping a shot that rode up Hiller's stick and into the net to cut Calgary's lead to three goals.

Scoring Summary
1st Period
05:06CGY Johnny Gaudreau (19) ASST: Jiri Hudler (34), Sean Monahan (24) 1 - 0 CGY
07:07CGY Drew Shore (1) ASST: TJ Brodie (27), Mason Raymond (7) 2 - 0 CGY
08:47TOR PPG - Richard Panik (11) ASST: Morgan Rielly (18), Jake Gardiner (17) 2 - 1 CGY
11:40CGY SHG - Mikael Backlund (9) ASST: NONE 3 - 1 CGY
14:38CGY SHG - Sean Monahan (26) ASST: TJ Brodie (28), Deryk Engelland (6) 4 - 1 CGY
2nd Period
01:29CGY Sean Monahan (27) ASST: Jiri Hudler (35), Johnny Gaudreau (33) 5 - 1 CGY
04:56TOR David Booth (5) ASST: Leo Komarov (16), Eric Brewer (6) 5 - 2 CGY
08:16CGY PPG - Jiri Hudler (25) ASST: Dennis Wideman (33), Johnny Gaudreau (34) 6 - 2 CGY
3rd Period
00:29TOR David Booth (6) ASST: Jake Gardiner (18), Dion Phaneuf (23) 6 - 3 CGY
Three Stars of the Game
Sean Monahan
Sean Monahan
G: 2Shots: 5
A: 1Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 3TOI: 20:39
Jiri Hudler
Jiri Hudler
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 2
+/-: 2TOI: 16:27
Johnny Gaudreau
Johnny Gaudreau
G: 1Shots: 3
A: 2Hits: 0
PTS: 3PIM: 0
+/-: 2TOI: 14:14
Penalty Summary
1st Period
07:59CGY Brandon Bollig  Interference against  Dion Phaneuf
10:05CGY Lance Bouma  Fighting (maj) against  Zach Sill
10:05TOR Zach Sill  Fighting (maj) against  Lance Bouma
10:05CGY Lance Bouma  Kneeing (maj) against  Andrew MacWilliam
10:05CGY Lance Bouma  Game misconduct against  Andrew MacWilliam
2nd Period
07:09TOR Morgan Rielly  Holding against  Jiri Hudler
14:46TOR Brandon Kozun  Hooking against  Drew Shore
16:27CGY Joe Colborne  Illegal Check To Head against  Dion Phaneuf
3rd Period
02:46CGY Micheal Ferland  Roughing against  TJ Brennan
02:46TOR TJ Brennan  Roughing against  Micheal Ferland
07:21CGY Jiri Hudler  Boarding against  Morgan Rielly
shots by period
Team Stats
Power Plays1/41/2
Faceoff Wins2242
Blocked Shots728
Penalty Minutes1128
2E. BrewerD0101018:05
3D. PhaneufD0103023:25
15J. LindstromC000009:50
18R. PanikL10-14014:14
19J. LupulL00-21016:19
20D. BoothL2013013:09
21J. van RiemsdykL00-13017:32
22Z. SillC000059:37
23T. SmithC0010014:51
24P. HollandC00-14016:40
25T. BrennanD00-21220:43
42T. BozakC00-33017:51
44M. RiellyD01-21219:35
47L. KomarovC0100015:20
51J. GardinerD0202023:48
57A. MacWilliamD00-20014:26
67B. KozunR0000211:05
81P. KesselR00-32018:23
34J. Reimer2228.78660:00
3D. SchlemkoD00-12015:31
4K. RussellD0020022:08
6D. WidemanD0123021:22
7T. BrodieD0221022:10
8J. ColborneC0021216:46
11M. BacklundC1002018:27
13J. GaudreauL1223014:14
17L. BoumaC0001202:44
18M. StajanC0000015:44
19D. JonesR00-11011:36
21M. RaymondL0101014:40
22D. ShoreC1002013:42
23S. MonahanC2135020:39
24J. HudlerR1222216:27
25B. BolligL000229:11
29D. EngellandD0121021:47
33R. DiazD00-10017:02
79M. FerlandL00-11214:02
1J. Hiller2528.89360:00