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Gaudreau OT winner, Markstrom shutout lead Flames to 1-0 win over Canucks

CALGARY — Johnny Gaudreau made the most of his second chance on Saturday night by changing his tactic.

CALGARY — Johnny Gaudreau made the most of his second chance on Saturday night by changing his tactic.

After failing to score on a first-period penalty shot, Gaudreau made no mistake on his scoring chance 29 seconds into overtime to give the Calgary Flames a 1-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

Gaudreau scored on Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko for his 17th of the season.

“I know Thatcher very well and I scored a couple times high glove on him last year.” said Gaudreau, who also shot there on the penalty shot. “Had the opportunity to score a couple times on the high glove (tonight) so I think he knew it was coming. So then on the overtime goal, I switched it up and went blocker side and found a way to beat him there.”

Gaudreau has been on a tear with 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 12 games since the Flames returned from an 18-day break in the schedule due to a team COVID outbreak.

In earning his seventh shutout of the season, Jacob Markstrom was only tested 15 times. He only faced one shot in the first period.

“I'm never gonna complain of getting not enough shots,” said the former Canuck, who improved to 16-10-5. “We're playing really good defensively and I think we needed that, and I needed to step up my game as well from last game in St. Louis (5-1 loss). So a good bounce back.”

The game was scoreless at the end of regulation despite a 31-15 edge in shots for Calgary. Flames coach Darryl Sutter liked how his team didn't get frustrated.

“It's about preparation mentally,” said Sutter. “There's always bad calls, bad goals, things like that. And you have to be able to stick with it. Doesn't mean you win all the time, but if you have that winning attitude, in the long run it will help, especially some of our young players.”

The winning goal came after a Vancouver turnover. Gaudreau moved the puck up to Elias Lindholm who gained the Canucks zone and dropped the puck back to his linemate who leaned into a slapshot.

“Johnny comes up big after he had some chances during the game to score, but well deserving to get that overtime goal,” Markstrom said.

Calgary (21-13-6) has won three straight at home while outscoring the opposition 13-2. The team will close off the pre-all-star break portion of its schedule with back-to-back road games starting Tuesday in Dallas.

It was the Flames' first 1-0 overtime victory since Blair Jones scored the winning goal in a win over Anaheim on Jan. 12, 2012.

Vancouver (19-19-6) saw its three-game road winning streak come to an end.

It wasn't the effort Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau was expecting after Vancouver opened a four-game road trip with a 5-1 win over the Jets on Thursday.

"It was like we were skating in quicksand all night long,” said Boudreau. “I don't know what the reason was. We'll try to find that out tomorrow, but it definitely didn't have near the energy that we had when we played Winnipeg.”

One of Markstrom's best stops came in the opening minute of the third period when Bo Horvat found open space down the right wing, but Markstrom got a blocker on it.

It was the Canuck captain's first game back after missing five games in COVID protocol.

Also just out of COVID protocol and making his first start since Jan. 18 was Demko, who missed four games. He made 31 saves. His record dropped to 17-14-2.

"They did have some shots on goal, but I don't know what the Grade 'A's were. It didn't seem like many,” said Canucks forward Tyler Motte. “Those are games we've got to find a way to win. We've got to find a way to get a greasy goal, especially (Demko) coming back and standing in the way he did."

The Flames got a golden opportunity early in the game to surge ahead. Thirteen minutes into the first period, Vancouver defenceman Tyler Myers was assessed a match penalty for a check to the head after his heavy hit along the end boards on Trevor Lewis shook up the veteran Flames forward.

But up against the league's worst-ranked penalty kill, Calgary only mustered two shots and wasn't able to create any dangerous chances.

The Flames finished 0 for 4 on the power play. Vancouver was 0 for 3. The Canucks got two power plays in the last half of the third period, but failed to generate a shot on either.

NOTES: Gaudreau is one for three on penalty shots in his career... Vancouver defenceman Tucker Poolman (upper body) did not play after getting injured last game. Taking his spot was Noah Juulsen... It was the first of four meetings between the two clubs, who faced each other 10 times last season.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 29, 2022 .

Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press