Johnny Gaudreau scores twice, Flames beat Coyotes for first pre-season win

CALGARY — Sam Bennett got a rare chance to play on Calgary’s No. 1 line and he took full advantage.

Playing centre in place of Sean Monahan, who had the night off, Bennett had three assists — twice setting up goals by Johnny Gaudreau — as the Flames picked up their first pre-season win with a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

“This game is a mental battle. Confidence is a huge part of it,” said Bennett, who saw his point total plummet to 26 points last season after scoring 36 points as a rookie. “Wherever you can get it, however you can get it, you want to use it to your advantage and just roll with it.”

Sporting a new-look beard, Bennett looks different off the ice this year. But more importantly for Calgary, he also looks different on it. He’s been excellent in his first two pre-season games.

“We all want things quickly in this league but usually, if I go back on my experience with the young guys that I’ve had and the skill set that he has, it doesn’t always come when you want it,” says Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan.

Bennett’s stat line on Friday, in addition to the three assists, also included a plus-2, a game-high six shots (tying him with Gaudreau), and an impressive 17-8 dominance in the face-off circle.

“He’s a lot more confident and comfortable now and that’s a big thing,” said Gulutzan. “He’s poised to have a great year.”

The way they were finding each other all night, you would never have known Gaudreau and Bennett have rarely played alongside each other.

“A real easy player to play with and he makes me better,” Bennett said about Gaudreau. “He makes guys around him better and that’s the thing about all-star players, they have that effect on guys.”

It was a similar sentiment from Gaudreau, about Bennett.

“It’s easy to build chemistry when you’re playing with a player with the calibre of skill he has,” said Gaudreau.

At 12:30 of the first period, it was Bennett setting up Gaudreau’s one-timer for a power-play goal that tied the score 1-1.

With Calgary up 2-1 late in the second, Bennett’s slick bank-pass sprung Gaudreau on his second breakaway of the period. As he fended off defenceman Adam Clendening and after being stopped initially by Louis Domingue, he got just enough of the puck on the rebound to get it over the goal line.

Micheal Ferland and Mark Jankowski, with his third goal in as many games, also scored for Calgary (1-3-0).

Mario Kempe and Dysin Mayo scored for Arizona (1-1-0).

Playing against his former team, it was a better night for Flames goaltender Mike Smith. After surrendering four goals on 13 shots in a half-game on Monday, he went the distance, finishing with 15 saves.

Domingue allowed three goals on 19 shots in his 40 minutes of work. Adin Hill was sharp in the third period for Arizona, stopping 15-of-16 shots.

Notes: Flames LW Matthew Tkachuk (hip) skated with the club today and is expected to make his pre-season debut on Monday when Calgary plays in Winnipeg.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fear of foreign worker shortage impacts veggie production

Innisfail-area grower cut back vegetables that need to be hand picked by one-third

Red Deer singer weathers natural disasters to create an upbeat new tune

Alecia Aichelle says you have to seek out the positives — even under lockdown

Red Deer RCMP looking for missing 49-year-old woman

Red Deer RCMP are looking to verify the well-being of Tracey Church.… Continue reading

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Lethbridge police chief says officers surveilling cabinet minister inexcusable

Alta. — The head of the Lethbridge Police Service in southern Alberta… Continue reading

Sources say Canada, U.S. travel ban likely to continue into late August

WASHINGTON — Canada and the United States are now widely expected to… Continue reading

Manitoba sees first new COVID-19 cases in two weeks

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s 13-day streak without new COVID-19 infections ended Tuesday as… Continue reading

B.C.’s budget surges to $12.5 billion deficit because of pandemic

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s balanced budget has been shattered by the COVID-19… Continue reading

Maxwell denied bail on Epstein-related sex abuse charges

NEW YORK — Jeffrey Epstein’s former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, will remain behind… Continue reading

Monahan, Lindholm, Gaudreau await reunion at Calgary Flames camp

CALGARY — Johnny Gaudreau’s separation from his linemates continued into the second… Continue reading

Trump administration rescinds rule on foreign students

BOSTON — Facing eight federal lawsuits and opposition from hundreds of universities,… Continue reading

Trump signs bill, order rebuking China, and slams Biden

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed legislation and an executive… Continue reading

Most Read