Backlund lifts Flames past Penguins in seven-round shootout
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Mikael Backlund scored the deciding goal in the seventh round of the shootout and the Calgary Flames overcame giving up a lead late in the third period to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on Monday night.
Backlund, Calgary’s seventh shooter, broke in off the right side and ripped a shot into the top corner on Tristan Jarry.
Jacob Markstrom sealed the victory by stopping Brock McGinn on Pittsburgh’s final shootout attempt, with the Flames’ goalie pumping his fist as his teammates spilled over the boards to celebrate Calgary’s second victory in extra time.
The Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau and the Penguins’ Kris Letang scored in the third round of the tiebreaker.
Milan Lucic scored in regulation for Calgary, which is 6-1-2 in its last nine games. Markstrom finished with 21 saves to improve to 9-4-4.
Jake Guentzel scored for Pittsburgh, and Jarry had 31 stops while dropping to 10-4-4.
Much like during regulation, Calgary had the better scoring chances in overtime On one chance, Gaudreau hit the crossbar.
Then on a 2-on-1, Jarry snared a low shot that looked like the game-winner.
Down 1-0, the Penguins tied it with 7:25 remaining in the third period, quickly converting the first power play of the night for either team. With Backlund in the penalty box for interference after he hauled down Even Rodrigues at the side of the Flames’ net, Pittsburgh needed only 7 seconds to draw even against the NHL’s second-best penalty-killing unit.
Sidney Crosby won the faceoff and getting the puck back from Letang, his attempted diagonal pass through the Calgary slot was redirected by Guentzel and past Markstrom. The power-play goal extended Guentzel’s point streak to 10 games.
He’s also picked up at least one point in all 10 of the Penguins road games this season.
The Flames entered the game having killed off 26 of the previous 27 penalties.
Calgary did not get a chance on the power play, which would have pit them against the NHL’s No 1 penalty-killing team.
Approaching the halfway point of the second period and with the game scoreless despite Calgary producing a majority of the scoring chances, the Flames finally broke through against Jarry.
Oliver Kylington’s long pass up the side boards was neatly chipped by Lucic past the tight coverage of defenseman Chad Ruhwedel. As he retrieved the puck and stormed into the Penguins’ end to chants of “Looooch” from the Saddledome crowd, he snapped his sixth goal of the season through Jarry’s pads.
Until that point, the Flames had done everything but score.
Gaudreau and Trevor Lewis hit goal posts. Andrew Mangiapane whiffed on a cross-crease feed from Blake Coleman with an open side to shoot the puck into.
Backlund and Lindholm put dangerous rebound chances past open nets.
NOTES: Mangiapane played in career game No. 200, as did Pittsburgh forward Dominik Simon. … Calgary has only trailed after two periods twice all season (0-1-1). … Flames D Juuso Valimaki has been a healthy scratch in 14 of his last 15 games. … Penguins are 21-5-5 in Western Canada dating back to 2007-08.
Penguins: At Edmonton on Wednesday night in the second of a stretch of five straight road games.
Flames: At Los Angeles on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game trip.