Scoring NHL goals is nothing new for Johnny Gaudreau.
While the 26-year-old is better known for his world-class vision and playmaking ability, he’s scored at least 24 goals in four of his first five full seasons with the Calgary Flames.
Some tallies, such as his power-play marker to open the scoring against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, are a little more special than others, though.
Most people probably didn’t think too much about Gaudreau’s 17th goal of the season and the 150th of his career. While his celebration may have been a little more exuberant than his reactions to tallies in the past, the entire sequence didn’t really seem to be that notable.
Its emotional importance was revealed following Calgary’s 3-0 victory in Florida.
“Yeah, yeah,” he said to members of the media after being asked if the goal meant a lot to him. “Pretty emotional day there yesterday after the game. So, I was pretty excited to get that goal, yeah.”
Following a bit of further questioning, Gaudreau revealed that his grandfather passed away before Calgary’s 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
“I found out after the game, so it was kind of a tough day,” he said. “But, you know, it was nice to find the net there for him in the first... It sucks losing people, but I was pretty pumped up to get that one for him.”
Although a difficult situation, how the Flames supported a teammate during his time of need is a positive reminder of how close these squads become over time.
“We have a really tight-knit group in there, and you could see how crushed he was yesterday on the bus,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano on Sunday, according to Sportsnet’s Eric Francis. “You feel for him as a teammate. I like to look at him as a little brother, to be honest. We've been around each other for so long.
“I know his family really well and our thoughts are with them. I thought for him to come in and score, that's really cool and something I'm sure he'll share with his family tonight.”
“I’m sure that goal is going to mean a lot to him for the rest of his life,” added Milan Lucic, per Francis.
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