Sweet redemption for Backlund of Flames in shootout against Penguins – .

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Sweet redemption for Backlund of Flames in shootout against Penguins – .


CALGARY – About half an hour after being fitted with goat horns, Mikael Backlund received the tap he didn’t see coming on Monday.

As a shootout between two of the world’s most prominent goalkeepers progressed to the seventh round, it was the veteran Sweden who learned he would have a chance to atone for a costly penalty that prolonged the game until late. in the night.

“You’re always ready to take the call, but with my 0v7 record going before today, I didn’t expect to be picked, really,” beamed the Calgary Flames center.

“But when I heard my name, I was excited. I just tried what I’m working on in practice.

A warning shot in front of the glove of eminent Pittsburgh Penguins Tristan Jarry paved the way for compatriot Swedish Jacob Markstrom to close an entertaining evening that ended with the Flames finally getting the point extra with a 2-1 win.

Markstrom’s save on Brock McGinn’s deke attempt sent the 15,343 home crowd buzzing over the top spot, 13-4-5 Flames.

“I just checked out a bit before, kinda where he left some goals,” Backlund said of his pre-shot preparation.

“I tried this movement in training and scored on Marky. I thought if I could score on Marky, I could score on this guy too. It was great, however. Homemade ice cream too. I enjoyed the moment.

The timing was especially good, not only because the Flames had already lost five of their six games after regulation this season, but because he felt primarily responsible for the Penguins’ lone goal.

“It was really tough… a stupid penalty,” Backlund said of an interference penalty near Jarry’s crease that resulted in a power play goal from Jake Guentzel seven seconds later.

“My emotions got the better of me in net. It’s hard to go to the box when you’re late by one at the end of the match. When they scored, it was tough.

“I was delighted to have the chance to redeem myself. “

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Backlund had played one hell of a game before that, doing well to help keep Sidney Crosby shot-free before a solid overtime in which the Flames could have won several times.

“Funny, Mikael scores the shootout winner, but he’s also probably our best guy 3v3,” said coach Darryl Sutter, who moved his lines to include Backlund in his second line with Johnny Gaudreau and Chris Tanev.

“Try to do something different. It’s a part of our game that obviously we don’t have this guy who can go from start to finish or go through the guys. So I’m just trying to get something that fits.

Without Jarry’s spectacular outing, which included 31 saves, the Flames would have won this one long before overtime.

Johnny Gaudreau, whose top line was sublime all evening, struck two iron shots, including one in overtime. This was the only one of the Flames’ first six shootout attempts to beat Jarry – a tall, gloved snipe much like Backlund’s.

The only man to beat Jarry in regulation was Milan Lucic, who took a good-humored rib earlier today when the Flames players were asked about Crosby’s idolatry as a child.

“When I was nine or 10, I came to the Dome to watch (Crosby) pre-game skating – it was pretty cool,” said Dillon Dube, 23, who casually turned his trip in the past to the man sitting next to him.

“But it’s even cooler to play with Milan Lucic, who was by far my favorite player when I was 10 years old. It’s better to sit next to him.

This drew instant laughs from Lucic, who had the last laugh later in the evening when his goal midway through the second period, a five-hole shot behind Jarry, looked like he could be the winner.

“I was actually looking to move that to (Trevor Lewis) but he and (Mike) Matheson got tied up there so I was in a good scoring zone there. I pulled as hard as I could along the ice between the legs, as I did before, and off we went.

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It became his signing decision, as half of his six snipes this year have come this way.

Would he have played five holes if he had been chosen for the shootout?

“No, I sure would have mixed it up if I had been patted on the shoulder,” he laughed.

“I think I’m around the 12th, 13th lunge (for the penalty shootout). You know what, on the breakaways I’m pretty good, but for some reason I’m 0-for-3 on penalties. But I’m excited around the 12 or 13 mark.

Earlier today, Lucic’s first comments about his major Saturday boarding against Winnipeg’s Dylan DeMelo were interesting.

“We made a check before on the game and we made eye contact,” he said.

“He looked at me, I looked at him. He knew I was coming and he got into a bad patch.

“I’ll tell you what, there are guys who said thank you because I saw them in vulnerable positions and I didn’t finish them. “

Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people in the hockey world and then they tell listeners what they heard and what they think.

Batters have a responsibility not to hit guys in vulnerable positions. But there is also the responsibility of the players not to put themselves in vulnerable positions.

“I think DeMelo put himself in a vulnerable position.

“The rulebook says if it’s a boarding call and if a guy is cut, it’s automatically five-and-a-game. That’s why it was five and one game.



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