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Johnny Gaudreau, a potential Flyers signee, is Game 7 hero for Calgary

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Johnny Gaudreau, Philadelphia FlyersTrade

Johnny Gaudreau kept Calgary’s season alive Sunday night.

The South Jersey native scored on a rebound with 4:51 left in overtime, lifting Calgary to an electric 3-2 win over visiting Dallas and putting the Flames into Round 2 against arch-rival Edmonton.

Calgary won the intense series, four games to three.

Gaudreau, a 28-year-old left winger, can become an unrestricted free agent this summer and has been linked to the Philadelphia Flyers, his hometown team.

Dallas coming-of-age goalie Jake Oettinger, who stopped 64 of 67 shots, denied Elias Lindholm from the slot, but Gaudreau scored from he left side, shooting from a sharp angle near the goal line.

“You dream about stuff like that — scoring in Game 7 in overtime,” said Gaudreau, a six-time All-Star who had 40 goals and 115 points, both were career highs, in the regular season but, surprisingly, was not named one of the three finalists for the Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s MVP.

Gaudreau, a one-time Gloucester Catholic High star who has a home at the Jersey Shore, said he was “just trying to put it on net. I mean, throughout the whole series, most of the time you put it on net it’s not going in against this kid. I got a good look and it went over his shoulder.”

PHN+: Last chance for Johnny Hockey to come home to Flyers?

“You go into overtime with Jake, you know it’s going to take a perfect shot to beat him,” Dallas coach Rick Bowness said, “and it was a perfect shot. Johnny made a great shot, right under the bar. You can’t do anything about that.”

For Gaudreau, it was the first playoff overtime goal of his brilliant career — and the Flames’ first Game 7 home victory in 33 years. Gaudreau joined Joel Otto (1989) and Martin Gelinas (2004) as the only players in Calgary history to score a Game 7 winner in OT.

Oettinger, 23, became the second goalie since 1956 — when shots on goal officially started being tracked —  to make at least 60 saves in a Game 7, according to the NHL. He was the only reason the Stars had a chance to steal a win. Dallas was outshot, 67-28, the largest shot differential in a Game 7 in Stanley Cup playoff history.

A native of Minnesota, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Oettinger was selected in the first round (26th overall) in 2017 after starring at Boston University.

The Flames will face Edmonton in the playoffs for the first time in 31 years.  Gaudreau and Calgary will host Game 1 Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. It will be televised on ESPN.

In the past, Gaudreau has said he hopes to play for the Philadelphia Flyers before his career ends. He was teammates with Flyers center Kevin Hayes at Boston College.

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