WATCH: Gaudreau beats Vasilevskiy for first goal as a Blue Jacket
Photo credit:Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
By Mike Gould1 year ago
Longtime Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau scored his first goal as a Columbus Blue Jacket early in the first period of Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Gaudreau, 29, got the fans at Nationwide Arena all riled up by opening the scoring off a great behind-the-back feed from Justin Danforth at the 2:21 mark of the opening frame.
Here’s the video:
After parts of nine seasons with the Flames to begin his National Hockey League career, Gaudreau left the team as an unrestricted free agent this past July and signed a seven-year, $68.25 million contract to join the Blue Jackets.
Gaudreau was held off the board in Columbus’ 4–1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on opening day, but he wasted little time in rectifying that situation in his home debut on Friday.
The Flames originally selected Gaudreau in the fourth round (No. 104 overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft. The 5’9″, 165-pound winger surpassed 80 points three times during his time in Calgary, including a career-best 115 points in 2021–22. He scored the series-winning goal in overtime of Game 7 to propel the Flames past the Dallas Stars in the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In 602 career games with the Flames from 2014 to 2022, Gaudreau scored 210 goals and 609 points. He added 11 goals and 33 points in 42 playoff contests with the club.
Many onlookers expected Gaudreau to spend significant time on a line with Patrik Laine to begin his Blue Jackets tenure, but the big Finnish winger suffered an elbow sprain in his first game of the regular season and is expected to miss three to four weeks with the injury.
Gaudreau started Friday’s game on a line with Danforth and Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner. Off goals by Corey Perry and Steven Stamkos, the Lightning currently lead the Blue Jackets by a 2–1 score late in the first period at Nationwide Arena.
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