Mikael Backlund has first hat trick, Flames beat Canucks 7-3
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Mikael Backlund had his first NHL hat trick to help the Calgary Flames beat the Vancouver Canucks 7-3 on Thursday night.
Backlund scored on a power play, at even strength and short-handed. The 27-year-old Swede has a career-high 21 goals after scoring only five goals through his first 50 games.
''Getting to 20, that was a huge mark. My dad told me on the father's trip in February that I'm going to get 20 this year and I just laughed at him. I guess he was right,'' said Backlund, whose previous career high was 18 in 2013-14.
Dougie Hamilton, Joe Colborne, Deryk Engelland and Sam Bennett also scored for Calgary.
''Tonight they were coming at us in waves and we didn't have a push back,'' Canucks left winger Daniel Sedin said. ''You need your top guys to have a few good shifts and get your team going and we couldn't do that tonight, which is disappointing.''
Nikita Tryamkin scored his first NHL goal, and Bo Horvat and Emerson Etem also scored for Vancouver.
''Obviously change is going to happen,'' Vancouver right winger Jannik Hansen said. ''This is the worst I've ever been a part of since I've been here. It hasn't been very fun.''
Backlund's third goal came with 52 seconds remaining in the second period on a nice play by Matt Stajan. On a 2-on-1, Stajan sent a perfect saucer pass over the stick of Ben Hutton that landed on the stick of Backlund, who fired a high shot over Ryan Miller to make it 5-3.
As he stood with his arms thrust in the air in jubilation, hats came raining down from the Scotiabank Saddledome crowd.
''Backs has been, in the last month, one of our most consistent players,'' Flames coach Bob Hartley said. ''Great that he's getting rewarded for his efforts.''
Backlund gave the Flames a 3-2 lead 1:18 into the second, also off Stajan's pass. After mishandling the pass, Backlund, from below the goal line, banked the puck in off of Miller.
Etem's goal at 6:54 tied it at 3, but Colborne gave the Flames the lead for good at 11:54. Also enjoying a career-best season, Colborne's scored his 19th when he deflected in Hamilton's point shot.
Backlund opened the scoring at 2:47, converting a nice pass from Jakub Nakladal.
The Canucks tied it at 6:23 when Tryamkin's shot from the blue line deflected off Hunter Shinkaruk and slipped through the pads of Joni Ortio.
Horvat briefly gave Vancouver its only lead at 17:36 before Hamilton tied it 32 seconds later.
The Flames had the edge in shots 43-27.
Miller gave up seven goals for just the fourth time in his career and the first time since Feb. 13, 2011.
''It's disrespectful to Ryan,'' Hansen said. ''He's put in the work. He's doing everything he can. There's not a lot to be said.''
Notes: Drew Shore was recalled from Stockton of the AHL and made his Flames season debut. ... Niklas Backstrom will start against his former team in Calgary's final game Saturday in Minnesota.