Backlund scores in OT as Flames beat Flyers 2-1
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Mikael Backlund ended a long scoring drought in dramatic fashion Thursday night.
Backlund scored 35 seconds into overtime and also had an assist to give the Calgary Flames a 2-1 victory over the skidding Philadelphia Flyers.
With the Flames breaking in on a 2-on-1, Johnny Gaudreau's shot was stopped by Michal Neuvirth. The rebound popped straight out, hit Backlund near his hip and went in.
''I'll take it. I haven't had the best start, either, so it's obviously nice to get that game-winner,'' said the veteran Swede, whose only point entering the night was a goal three weeks ago.
It was the first time all season Calgary gave up fewer than two goals. The Flames have allowed an NHL-high 56 goals.
''We grinded all night. Everyone worked hard. I don't think we gave them up too many scoring chances,'' Backlund said. ''This was one of our best defensive games where we had them on the outside.''
Josh Jooris also scored for Calgary (4-9-1). The Flames improved to 2-5 at home.
Calgary improved to 3-0 in 3-on-3 overtime, while Philadelphia fell to 1-3.
''We understand the concept of 3-on-3. Once you're there, there's a free point on the table. Go for it, don't sit back,'' Flames coach Bob Hartley said.
Michael Raffl scored his first of the season for Philadelphia (4-6-3). The Flyers are 0-3-1 on a five-game road trip that ends Saturday in Winnipeg.
In a matchup between struggling teams - the Flames with one win in their previous six games and the Flyers winless in five.
''If we play like this, we'll be in a lot of hockey games. We'll compete for a lot of points and that's what we need,'' Philadelphia forward Sean Couturier said.
It appeared Calgary was going to head to the second intermission with a lead for just the second time this season, but Raffl fluttered a shot past Karri Ramo with 36 seconds left in the period.
''It's a tough goal to give in this kind of game, late in the period,'' Ramo said. ''But we're growing as a group. We're getting the confidence back that when those things happen, we just forget it and move on.''
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol liked the way his struggling team competed.
''We're coming to the end of the road trip here and we need one push,'' he said. ''This is a gutty road effort by us. We need to pick up where we left off there and when things aren't going well, you have to find a way. We have to push to get over the hump.''
Calgary took a 1-0 lead less than 5 minutes into the game. After serving a minor, Jooris stepped out of the penalty box just in time to scoop up the puck at center ice and charge in on a breakaway.
Neuvirth stopped his initial shot and stopped Backlund on the rebound, but the Flyers' goalie couldn't control the puck and it squirted back out front, where Jooris whipped it in for his second of the season.
''It might not have looked the prettiest out there, but we limited them to seven scoring chances and one goal against. That's huge for us,'' Jooris said.
Ramo, who entered the game ranked second-to-last in the NHL in save percentage at .871, finished with 26 stops and improved to 2-4.
Neuvirth played in place of an ill Steve Mason and made 28 saves in falling to 2-3.
NOTES: Philadelphia's healthy scratches were Sam Gagner and David Drewiske. ... Mason Raymond and Ladislav Smid did not dress for Calgary. ... Couturier (concussion) returned after missing six games. ... Jakub Voracek was held without a shot. Still without a goal this season, he entered the night with 50 shots, which was fourth-most in the NHL.