Gaudreau, Flames welcome Blue Jackets

( - Johnny Gaudreau has been able to enjoy his race for the rookie points lead since it has paralleled Calgary's successful push for a playoff spot.

Gaudreau and the Flames look to keep their hold on a postseason spot Saturday afternoon when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Looking to reach the postseason for the first time since 2009, the Flames snapped a two-game slide with Thursday's 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. That put Calgary a point ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division and just one point behind the second-place Vancouver Canucks.

Both the Kings and Canucks have a game in hand over the Flames and meet on Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles.

The 21-year-old Gaudreau had a goal and two assists in Thursday's victory, his fourth three-point game of the season. It gave the Boston College product 56 points on the season, one ahead of Nashville's Filip Forsberg for the NHL lead among rookies.

"I want to be one of the top rookies in the league," said Gaudreau, "and as I'm playing well and the team's playing well, we're in the playoff race, everything seems to be going our way right now. Hopefully we can keep it going."

Sean Monahan and T.J. Brodie also scored while Jiri Hudler and Kris Russell tacked on two assists apiece for the Flames, who won for the sixth time in nine games. Karri Ramo made 26 saves.

Calgary will play the third contest of a five-game homestand tonight against a Columbus squad that is seeing its own young skater come into form.

Marko Dano had a pair of goals and an assist in Thursday's 6-2 win over the Canucks, giving the 20-year-old three goals and four helpers over his past five games. The 27th overall pick of the 2013 draft has seven goals and 14 points in 25 games with Columbus this season.

Dano has caught fire since being moved to a line with fellow 20-year-old and 2013 first-round pick Alexander Wennberg and veteran forward Scott Hartnell.

"His linemates are helping but he is also doing things on his own," Columbus coach Todd Richards told of Dano. "He's physical in the corners, physical in the battles, he creates a little separation, and you see some different things. He can score goals. He makes a great pass to Hartnell on his goal. There's a lot of skill and ability in him."

Dano's effort helped Columbus overcome an early 2-0 second-period deficit to the Canucks as the Blue Jackets scored six unanswered goals. Wennberg notched a goal and an assist and Hartnell also scored to give him six tallies and an assist over a six-game point streak.

Rene Bourque and Cam Atkinson scored as well and Sergei Bobrovsky made 38 saves.

The Blue Jackets have won five of their last six games and are looking to secure a perfect three-game swing through Western Canada tonight. They have won two in a row and four of their last five versus the Flames, including a 3-2 victory at home on Oct. 17.

Columbus has won four straight in Calgary.