Jonathan Huberdeau expressed relief Thursday night following a 5-2 victory by his Calgary Flames over the Vancouver Canucks in which he scored a goal after going 11 games without one.
“Obviously, it felt good; it has been a while,” the Flames forward told reporters. “It was good to get, finally, a goal and a big win for us.”
Huberdeau elevated the puck from in tight to net his third tally of the season early in the third period.
The 30-year-old winger added that he appreciated the response from the crowd when he got off the schneid.
“I (took) it in, (and) I think it’s nice to get the support from the crowd. They’ve been patient,” Huberdeau said. “It’s nice, obviously, but hopefully that can get me going. It was a good game, our line, we created a lot of chances. We’ve just got to take that and do it for next game.”
Flames head coach Ryan Huska also credited the Calgary crowd for acknowledging Huberdeau’s effort.
“I thought it was cool. We have great fans here, and what they do recognize is hard work,” the bench boss said. “You could see that from him tonight, so when he gets rewarded, it was nice, and it goes a long way for a player that is really working to find his way. We’re all happy for him. It was good to see him score that.”
Huberdeau later set up Elias Lindholm’s empty-netter with under two minutes remaining.
The veteran of 11 previous seasons played 10 of those with the Florida Panthers. He amassed a career-high 85 assists and 115 points in 2021-22 while finishing fifth in Hart Trophy voting. But after the Panthers traded him to the Flames in the blockbuster swap involving Matthew Tkachuk (and Calgary signed Huberdeau to an eight-year, $84-million contract shortly thereafter), he’s had well-documented struggles with his new club.
The 2011 third overall pick collected only 15 goals and 40 assists in 79 games during the 2022-23 campaign, and his average ice time (16:52) was his lowest since 2013-14.
Huberdeau got off to a promising start to this season, netting two goals and two assists in the first four contests. But then came the 11-game scoring drought in which he produced only three assists.
The Quebec-born forward has six helpers to go along with his three tallies over 16 games in this campaign.