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Mikael Backlund's OT tally lifts Calgary Flames over Detroit Red Wings

By Laurence Heinen, The Sports Xchange
Mikael Backlund took his turn to be the hero for the Flames on Friday by scoring at 3:56 of overtime to lead Calgary to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings at the Scotiabank Saddledome. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/f92917f85cfa93a2c3098f13353abc56/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Mikael Backlund took his turn to be the hero for the Flames on Friday by scoring at 3:56 of overtime to lead Calgary to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings at the Scotiabank Saddledome. File Photo by Archie Carpenter/UPI | License Photo

March 4 (UPI) -- CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames keep finding ways to get wins.

Mikael Backlund took his turn to be the hero for the Flames on Friday by scoring at 3:56 of overtime to lead Calgary to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

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On a two-on-one with Mark Giordano, Backlund elected to blast a slap shot past Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek instead.

"Both me and Gio took off and (Michael Frolik) made a good play to me," said Backlund, who commended Calgary goalie Brian Elliott for making a great glove save to stop a blast by Detroit defenseman Ryan Sproul seconds earlier. "I saw Gio, but I thought the guy would come back so I figured I would try to shoot it."

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Kris Versteeg and Matthew Tkachuk scored first-period goals for the Flames (35-26-4), who have won six straight games and two in a row in overtime.

"A lot of belief, a lot of confidence and swagger with this group right now," said Backlund of what's going right for the Flames during their winning streak. "We're playing some good hockey. We get down a goal and we still believe we can come back."

Calgary goalie Brian Elliott made 35 saves to record his fifth straight win.

"It was an intense game," said Elliott, who improved his record to 17-3-3. "They pressed really hard right down to the end, obviously. We would've liked to finish that one off in regulation but the guys did a heck of a job."

Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar scored for the Red Wings (25-26-11), who have gone 3-1-1 in their past five games.

"We just want to keep playing and proving that we can be playoff team and a contending team," said Helm. "Obviously we're a little bit further out of the picture than we wanted to be but we still have a lot of pride in this dressing room and we want to finish off on a good note."

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Justin Abdelkader had two assists, while Mrazek finished with 30 saves.

Despite the loss, Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said his players showed great character to get the game into overtime.

"It's part of life, finding ways to grind is part of life and I think we have a good group to do it," he said.

With Mrazek on the bench for an extra attacker, Tatar took a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and snapped a shot off Elliott's left shoulder to tie the score at 19:58 of the third period.

"I thought we played well," said Tatar. "We battled. Obviously we wanted two points tonight, but we got one."

Helm opened the scoring at 6:55 of the first period when he took a pass from Justin Abdelkader before snapping a shot from the top of the faceoff circle to the top corner over Elliott's glove hand.

Versteeg drew the Flames even at 8:19 during a Calgary power play when he one-timed a pass from TJ Brodie past Mrazek, who was screened on the play.

The Flames took a 2-1 lead at 13:07 on a goal by Tkachuk, who intercepted a backhand pass by Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall before making a quick deke and depositing a backhand shot past Mrazek.

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"(Kronwall) gave me the head fake up ice and I had a feeling he was just going to try to bait me into that so he could throw it to his D-partner," said Tkachuk.

The Red Wings carried the majority of the play in the second period as they outshot the Flames 14-2. Elliott made several nice stops, including a kick save with his right pad to thwart a scoring chance by Anthony Mantha during a Detroit power play.

"We know when we're hard on the forecheck we get a lot of shots on net," said Mantha, who finished with five shots on net. "We're a good team and we're hard to battle against."

NOTES:

-- The Flames went with the same lineup they iced at home on Tuesday when they beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in overtime.

-- C Curtis Lazar, who Calgary acquired from the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday's NHL trade deadline, was scratched along with C Freddie Hamilton and D Dennis Wideman.

-- Detroit recalled RW Mitch Callahan from the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday and he suited up for his second NHL game against the Flames.

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-- Red Wings C Gustav Nyquist served the sixth and final game of his suspension for high-sticking Minnesota Wild D Jared Spurgeon on Feb. 12. Nyquist is eligible to return to Detroit's lineup in Edmonton against the Oilers on Saturday.

-- Flames C Sean Monahan recorded his 100th assist and 200th point of his NHL career on Kris Versteeg's goal in the first period.

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