Gaudreau scored twice in the final 2:12 of the third period to complete his first career hat trick, Mark Giordano delivered the winning goal in overtime, and the Flames ended an eight-game losing streak by rallying for a 4-3 win over the Kings on Monday night.
Already sporting the title "Johnny Hockey," Gaudreau shocked the defending Stanley Cup champions. The Kings looked set to head into the Christmas break with a three-game, home-winning streak before Gaudreau slipped a shot under Jonathan Quick's left leg to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Just 1:13 later, Gaudreau sent the puck off defenceman Drew Doughty's skate and into the net to tie it on what seemed more like a backhanded centring pass than a shot.
Before the stunned Kings could regroup, Gaudreau nearly ended the game in overtime on a 2-on-1 break, forcing Quick to make a sprawling save. Quick had no such luck against Giordano seconds later as the puck slid under his stick and across the crease. Giordano put it into the net 4:07 into overtime.
"We fell behind, but the guys were great on the bench and in the room," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "We felt like we had a chance. It's funny, on the bench it felt like the same feeling when we were collecting wins."
The Flames (18-15-3) emerged as one of the league's surprising upstarts earlier this season, but an eight-game losing streak had extinguished that enthusiasm. That joy was back, with Giordano recalling a similar win at this point last season.
"The only thing that comes to mind was last year at Christmas, we did something similar against St. Louis," he said. "We finally got a break."
Jonas Hiller stopped 31 shots for the Flames, who had earned only three points in their previous nine games.
For Gaudreau, who has 10 goals this season, the focus was not on his heroics but a much-needed result.
"We were pretty thrilled," said Gaudreau, who also scored on the power play late in the second period. "The hard work finally paid off. We were (going) 2-3 weeks there without a win, so it was getting a little frustrating."
Instead, the frustration was passed on to the Kings (17-11-7), who couldn't turn goals by Trevor Lewis, Marian Gaborik and Jamie McBain into a win.
"Our power play was good, our penalty kill was good, and our five-on-five probably wasn't what it needed to be," captain Dustin Brown said. "As a result, we let a lead slip away. It's a divisional game, and at the end of the day it cost us two points."
NOTES: The Kings had won all nine previous home games this season in which they had scored on the power play. . Gaborik scored in his fifth consecutive game, his longest goal streak since a seven-game run with the New York Rangers in December 2011. . The Kings and Flames will return to action with home games on Dec. 27 before facing off for the second of five regular-season meetings on two days later in Calgary.