COLUMBUS — The Columbus Blue Jackets won in Johnny Gaudreau‘s first game against the Calgary Flames, 3-1 at Nationwide Arena on Friday.
Gaudreau played his first nine NHL seasons with the Flames before signing a seven-year, $68.25 million contract with the Blue Jackets on July 13.
“To see the way our team responded tonight was awesome,” Gaudreau said. “We were a lot smarter tonight with the puck. We weren’t feeding into their transition. It was a fun game to be a part of.”
Patrik Laine, Eric Robinson and Sean Kuraly scored for the Blue Jackets (9-15-2), who ended a three-game losing streak, including 9-4 at home against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.
Joonas Korpisalo made 12 saves before leaving the game after the first period with a lower-body injury. He was replaced by Elvis Merzlikins, who made 19 saves.
“After the first, [Korpisalo] had some discomfort in his lower body and we decided to take him out,” coach Brad Larsen said.
Michael Stone scored, and Jacob Markstrom made 24 saves for the Flames (13-11-3), who had won three straight.
“We had some guys who came for a visit, not to win a hockey game,” Calgary coach Darryl Sutter said. “Very disappointing. The big guys thought they were wheeler-dealers. Guys were wheeler-dealers, wouldn’t touch anybody, so that’s the way she goes.”
Laine made it 1-0 at 1:02 of the first period, receiving a pass from Jack Roslovic in stride at the blue line and scoring with a wrist shot.
“When the plays were there, we made them,” Laine said. “Overall, as a team, we played a pretty solid 60. A complete team effort.”
Robinson scored glove side on a breakaway at 2:52 of the second period for a 2-0 lead. He started the play by intercepting a pass by MacKenzie Weegar in his own zone.
“I’ll take full responsibility for that loss,” Weegar said.
“All six of us [defensemen] have to be a lot better. It starts with myself. It was just about effort. We can’t be having bad efforts, especially when we’re pushing for a playoff spot right now.”
The Flames had six shots on goal in the second period on Merzlikins, who said he had about five minutes notice he was going to start the period.
“The ‘D’ did really good tonight. They helped me out,” he said. “They let me get into the game. Second period, I didn’t have too many shots.”
Stone cut it to 2-1 at 17:26 of the third period with Markstrom still pulled for an extra attacker, but Kuraly shot into an empty net with 24 seconds remaining for the 3-1 final.
“We had good energy,” Larsen said. “This was a heck of a game by a lot of guys. A really good effort all the way through. That was a solid game.”
NOTES: Laine has six points (five goals, one assist) in five games since returning from an ankle injury on Dec. 2. … Gaudreau had his six-game point streak end. … The Blue Jackets went 0-for-7 on the power play. The Flames were 0-for-5.