NHL Hockey

Gaudreau scores twice, Flames rally past Maple Leafs 4-2

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen, left, looks away as Calgary Flames' Johnny Gaudreau, center right, celebrates his goal with teammates during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019 in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Johnny Gaudreau delivered two big goals when the Calgary Flames needed it the most.

Gaudreau had his first two-goal game of the season and the Flames scored three goals in the first three minutes of the third period, rallying to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 on Thursday night.

"We knew we needed to have a strong push to start the third and we found a way to score three quick ones and play well with the lead," said Gaudreau, who has nine goals on the season.

Gaudreau tied it 2-2 just 19 seconds into the third, sending a wrist shot past Frederik Andersen after being set up by Mikael Backlund.

Then, after Michael Frolik's third goal in as many games at 1:59 gave the Flames the lead, Gaudreau scored again, his ninth of the season. He deflected Travis Hamonic's point shot through Anderson's legs. The three goals came on three consecutive shots.

"Giving up one as quick as we did, it just seemed we got down on ourselves," said Leafs captain John Tavares. "We just didn't have a good response after that and didn't execute very well and gave them too much space in the middle of the ice that let them capitalize on those next couple chances."

Hamonic also had a goal for Calgary (18-12-4). Sean Monahan had a pair of assists to extend his point-streak to eight games (5 goals, 5 assists).

The Flames improved to 7-0-0 under interim head coach Geoff Ward and moved into a tie with the Edmonton Oilers for second in the Pacific Division.

"I'm most proud of how the guys have come together," the 57-year-old Ward said. "They stick up for each other, they play for one another, and we're really starting to see a nice synergy in our team, and right now I'm happy for the guys."

Mitch Marner and Tavares each had a goal and an assist for Toronto (15-14-4). The Leafs fell to 2-1-0 on their four-game trip.

Shortly after the Flames surged in front, Toronto got a 1:34 two-man advantage, but failed to take advantage as David Rittich made big stops off Tavares. Auston Matthews also put a shot off the post.

Rittich finished with 32 saves and improved to 15-7-4.

Andersen made 20 saves and fell to 15-8-3.

Tied 1-1, Marner's fifth goal of the season at 14:06 of the second gave the Leafs the lead. The right winger completed a give-and-go with Tavares, sending a shot into the top corner.

After falling behind early, Calgary tied it 1-1 at 16:23 of the first. Hamonic moved in from the point, took a cross-ice pass from Monahan and beat Andersen with a high shot.

Toronto struck first at 8:24 of the first period when Tavares scored into the top corner, over Rittich's blocker, after being set up in front by Marner.

NOTES: Flames LW Sam Bennett (upper body) missed his 12th game, but he's back skating with the club. ... The Leafs lost in regulation for the first time (11-1-2) when leading after two periods. The Flames improved to 5-11-2 in games in which they're trailing after two periods.


Maple Leafs: Close out a four-game trip Saturday night in Edmonton.

Flames: Host Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.


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Updated December 13, 2019

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