It was symbolic of just how well things have been going for Johnny Gaudreau of late.
Opening the third period of a 2-2 game with his sixth breakaway of this four-game road trip, Gaudreau’s shot seemed to be absorbed by Blackhawks goalie Collin Delia before it somehow squirted through his pads and into the net.
It came a few hours after Gaudreau opened the scoring with a gift of a rebound into an open net, and one day after attending the dramatic playoff win by his beloved Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field.
Everything is going Gaudreau’s way, which makes sense given he’s dominating games like that kid McDavid is accustomed to.
It’s an appropriate comparison as Gaudreau’s 13 points in his last five games put him two points ahead of the Oilers captain in a scoring race the fired-up Flame now sits third in.
He is, quite simply, the talk of the league.
Days after being named the NHL’s second star of the month, Gaudreau was told Monday he was the loop’s player of the week with five goals and six assists.
In a run that that started with back-to-back four-point efforts, Gaudreau now has goals in five straight.
Four of those efforts are multi-point jobs that have played huge roles in the Flames winning three of four on their latest road trip to uphold their lead over the rest of the Western Conference.
He’s in serious jeopardy of ruining his reputation as a pure playmaker by scoring 13 goals in his last 10 outings.
He leads the team with 26, setting him on a pace that will have him threatening the coveted 50-goal mark.
Not too shabby for a guy who teammates often joke has a muffin for a shot.
The best player on the West’s top squad is now getting almost as many Hart Trophy mentions as he is points, which says plenty.
How poetic the Flames’ 4-3 win came against one of his idols, Patrick Kane, who knows plenty about turning franchises around, winning the Hart and claiming the Art Ross Trophy.
Both opened the scoring for their respective teams in the first, both finished with two points and both are considered amongst the game’s most skilled and exciting players.
More takeaways from Chicago:
Gaudreau is certainly the engine that drives the line, but linemates Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm are certainly huge factors in No. 13’s success all season.
The trio has combined for an astonishing 33 points in the club’s last five games, which included a sweet power-play snipe by Monahan that tied the game late in the second.
It set up another third-period doozy from the Flames, who are now a league-best plus-32 in the final frame.
Those three players, combined with Matthew Tkachuk, are all over 50 points now – a significant bulge in stats given the Flames only had two players eclipse 50 all of last season.
Thanks to Gaudreau and Lindholm’s playmaking, Monahan had 10 shots on goal in a game that saw all three purple Gatorade guzzlers nab two points. Lindholm deserves to be included in Selke Trophy talk as he’s not only been the defensive catalyst on the line, but a chief penalty killer for the team.
Lindholm, who is plus-27, is now projected to finish with 93 points, which would shatter the franchise record for points as a first-year Flame. Sergei Makarov had 86 in 1989-90, Doug Gilmour had 85 in 1988-89 and Mike Cammalleri had 82 in 2008-09.
THIS & THAT
David Rittich has been so dependable this year that he’ll hardly get mentions despite being stellar in a wide-open game that included an exorbitant number of Grade A chances at both ends. All told the Flames goalie had 32 saves, including several clutch stops while the Hawks looked to increase their lead to two … Garnet Hathaway’s empty-netter was the Flames’ 14th short-handed goal of the year – another league-leading stat … Mark Giordano’s assist on Gaudreau’s goal was the 300th of his career. Not bad for an undrafted dreamer who spent a year in Russia to try bolstering his stock … The Flames return home where they’ll play five in a row and six of seven before the all-star break. Their next game is Wednesday against Colorado.