CALGARY, Alberta — Johnny Gaudreau took over the NHL's rookie scoring lead and helped the Calgary Flames earn an important two points in the process.
The 21-year-old Gaudreau scored his 20th goal of the season and added two assists to lead Calgary to a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.
Playing left wing on Calgary's No. 1 line with sophomore Sean Monahan and veteran Jiri Hudler, Gaudreau's fourth three-point game of the season — against the team he grew up cheering for — moved him one point ahead of Nashville's Filip Forsberg for the rookie scoring lead.
"I want to be one of the top rookies in the league, and as the team is playing well and we're playing well, we're in the playoff race, everything seems to be going our way right now," Gaudreau said. "Hopefully we can keep it going."
Gaudreau's success has come after a rocky start to the season. He was held without a point in the first five games and then was a healthy scratch in the sixth.
"He just keeps getting better, and I think we're far from seeing the end of it," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "He has this ability to get open, he's very skilled and he wants to learn, and is a great competitor. You put all of this together, you have quite a player."
After Philadelphia cut Calgary's 2-0 lead in half with 9 seconds left in the second period, Gaudreau helped the Flames restore their two-goal cushion 3:09 into the third by neatly setting up Monahan's team-leading 28th goal.
Four minutes later, with Calgary on a two-man advantage, Gaudreau was set up at the side of the net for a tap-in by Jiri Hudler to make it 4-1.
"We were making plays, whether we were 5-on-5, 4-on-4, power play," Gaudreau said. "It's key to get goals on the power play to win games. I think that's what we did."
Dennis Wideman and T.J. Brodie also scored for Calgary, which had lost back-to-back games.
After beginning the night outside of a playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Flames moved one point ahead of Los Angeles and into third place in the Pacific Division. Calgary trails second-place Vancouver by one point.
Claude Giroux scored the lone goal for Philadelphia.
"A couple power-play goals to get a big lead," Giroux said. "We tried to battle back, and we had our chances, but we've got to find a way to not trail early in games like that."
With the game scoreless late in the second period, a critical turnover by Flyers defenseman Luke Schenn sparked the Flames.
Schenn's errant pass was intercepted at center ice by Wideman, who worked a give-and-go with Hudler that ended with Wideman sending a wrist shot between the pads of goalie Steve Mason.
The Flames made it 2-0 less than two minutes later. With the teams playing 4-on-4, Deryk Engelland sent a pass along the blue line to Brodie for a wrist shot that beat Mason.
After those goals on consecutive shots, Flyers coach Craig Berube replaced Mason with Ray Emery. That gave Philadelphia a jolt.
With 9 seconds left in the period, a terrific individual effort by Jakub Voracek helped him set up Giroux at the side of the net for the Flyers' goal.
Karri Ramo made 26 saves for the Flames to improve to 14-8-1. Mason fall to 14-17-10.
The Flyers are 10 points back of a playoff spot in the East.
"At the end of the day, it all comes down to pride a little bit, and obviously we didn't have much of that," Schenn said. "Didn't put enough on the line tonight. You get that type of result. It's embarrassing for all of us."
NOTES: Vinny Lecavalier was a healthy scratch for Philadelphia as the team dressed seven defensemen. ... Matt Read is away from the Flyers to be with his wife, who gave birth to a girl. ... It was the Flyers' first loss in Calgary since March 22, 2001. They had won five straight. ... Calgary scored first for just the fourth time in their last 17 games.
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