Regardless of Hart, Flames' Godro continues to ramp up in the playoffs

Regardless of Hart, Flames’ Godro continues to ramp up in the playoffs

Dallas – He may not have received the nod as a Hart Cup finalist on Thursday, but Johnny Goudreau earned a new title and initial endorsement instead.

“Johnny was really good in the playoffs,” Flams coach Daryl Sutter said before offloading the senior player.

“For me, he took that step, 100 per cent. He did it during the season. He did it during the playoffs. I am proud of Johnny.”

That move Denotes his ability to remain as dominant and dangerous in the playoffs as he was during the regular season.

It’s a move many have talked about for years, with many questioning if he’ll be able to be a team maker when games matter most.

No, the low score streak he was participating in did not allow him to score at the same rate. But it is a constant threat that the hands of the stars have been fully contained.

His five points haven’t been easy this spring, but he’s found a way to fight through the mud in a tight defensive streak where real estate is harder to come by than Vancouver.

He created plenty of scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates, yet star goalkeeper Jake Oettinger turned him down on all but one occasion.

And while no one would ever expect the 165-pound winger to shed his weight, Goudreau has been more involved in the fabric of the game than in his previous playoff role. A commitment to being a defensive factor has made him more involved on both sides, resulting in two important head-shots recently.

In Game 4’s opening turn, Gaudreau slowly gets up after receiving an illegal check to the head. His response: a match-winning penalty kick and an initial pass to tie the chain 2-2.

In Game 5, he took a skewed disc to his face as part of an attempt to enter a sore area that also caused a lot of anxiety for fans when he left the ice.

He was caught with several other hits throughout his five-game fight with Dallas and not once did he make the ref by pulling on a burnt oven glove after cutting into the hands.

He’s simply bench skating and getting ready for the next bout.

In fighting through it all, the artist formerly known as Johnny Hockey is seen differently in the room.

“We’ve been joking about this between periods, just telling him how warrior he was,” said Blake Coleman before jumping on a charter to Dallas for Game 6. The Flames leads the series, 3-2.

“No jokes, he took some good licks. To his credit, he didn’t bother. He got back up and kept playing his game. I haven’t been here in years, but having one of your best skilled players shows that toughness and determination go a long way in a room Changing clothes, and I think he’s definitely been emulating, especially over the last few games here.”

Coleman knows a thing or two about resilience, as does defender Chris Tanev, who doubled down on the new title.

“John is a warrior,” Tanev agreed.

“He comes to work every day and works behind him. He does like everyone else on the team. He will do everything he can to win.”

Despite finishing in the NHL scoring 115 points in his career, Gaudreau wasn’t able to do enough to beat the top three bills in the Hart race, finishing somewhere behind Auston Matthews, Conor McDavid and Igor Chesterkin.

With McDavid and Matthews in the finalists, it should come as no surprise that the 28-year-old toiling in the middle of the night in Western Canada couldn’t beat a handful of others in third place. Shesterkin shone under the glare of the New York lights, while the top five votes of the Professional Hockey Writers Association were split among the likes of Roman José, Jonathan Huberdeau, Kirill Kaprizoff, Leon Drysittel and Goudreau, among others.

Gaudreau ranked second on my ballot, as far as his finish and unparalleled creativity as his fortitude and newfound leadership.

That is why both teammates with him reached 40 goals.

His colleagues are similarly affected by seeing his magic up close.

“In our minds he (he reached the Hart Cup final) for sure,” said Tanev, whose coach called Jodreau one of the top 200-foot-tall footballers earlier this year.

“He did everything that was asked of him, and he went above and beyond to help this team get to where we are now. I mean, I don’t think he’s too worried about (not being a favourites). He wants to win, and we’re going to need him to keep playing like he’s doing and keep going. Getting better over the next few games.

“Johnny has been fantastic, as he has been all year. He was probably our best player all year, probably. He continues to play well now. We will need him to keep improving as we go here.”

Coleman agreed.

“I think I’m biased because I see him all the time, but he’s definitely one of the best players in the NHL,” said Coleman, who has a chance to close in Dallas Friday at the American Airlines Center.

“It’s what you buy tickets to watch. He’s one of those very dynamic players and he puts his butt in the seats. Obviously his season has been amazing. I think Johnny will be the first to tell you he’s going to trade Hart for a trophy any day, so we’ll work on that.”

2022-05-12 21:36:00

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