But they demonstrated on Saturday night in Calgary's thrilling 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins that they are also an integral part of the Flames current.
On assignment for The Canadian Press, here is my game story that includes post-game player reaction on Calgary's best effort of the season. Posted to Sportsnet's website, game highlights including some must-see goals can be watched or re-watched also.
However, there was way, way more going on Saturday night than I had space to include in the above recap.
Here are some additional player comments, stats and some context to the gaudy numbers being put up by Calgary's young stars.
Gaudreau Cracks Top Five in NHL Scoring
No sophomore slump here, apparently, for the Flames crafty 22-year-old star. Gaudreau's three-point night moves him into pretty elite company near the top of the NHL's scoring race.
NHL Scoring Leaders:
1. Tyler Seguin Dal, 8-13-21
2. Jamie Benn Dal, 10-20-20
3. Patrick Kane Chi, 9-10-19
4. Johnny Gaudreau Cgy, 4-13-17
Blake Wheeler Wpg, 6-11-17
Looking at the three established stars ahead of him, Seguin turns 24 in January, Benn and Kane are both 26. Gaudreau just turned 22 in August.
The area where Gaudreau excels is his playmaking and that's reinforced in his high ratio of first assists. Eleven of his 13 helpers this year have been the primary assist, the last play/set-up that leads to a goal being scored. In this category, he is alone atop the NHL.
NHL Primary Assist Leaders:
1. Johnny Gaudreau Cgy, 11
2. Tyler Seguin Dal, 9
3. Patrick Kane Chi, 8
Evgeny Kuznetsov Wsh, 8
Ryan O'Reilly Col, 8
P.K. Subban Mtl, 8
Gaudreau says the team's goal production is coming around because they are playing smarter hockey.
"We didn’t start out the way we wanted to but we’ve been working hard in practices and trying to figure out what we’ve been doing wrong," Gaudreau said. "We’ve been limiting our turnovers, just playing a lot better defensively, which is leading to more offence. I think that’s what’s happening right now.”
Bennett Has Found His Groove
You got the sense when Bennett finally broke through and scored his first goal of the season in Ottawa a couple weeks ago that he was going to take off and boy has he ever.
In the six games since, he's piled up eight points (3 goals, 5 assists) making him not only the top scoring rookie of late, but one of the the hottest players in the entire NHL.
NHL Scoring - Past Two Weeks:
- After 5 games, 0-0-0
- After 9 games, 1-2-3
- After 14 games, 3-6-9
- After 3 games, 0-0-0
- After 8 games, 0-1-1
- After 14 games, 3-6-9
If you recall the "Good luck, Blue Jays" video the Flames produced last month, it looks like all the batting practice paid off for Monahan.— Darren Haynes (@DarrenWHaynes) November 8, 2015
By the way, have you liked Flames From 80 Feet on Facebook yet? Go there and do so now. It's just another way to be alerted to new Calgary Flames articles that I've written.
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