Backlund scores in overtime as Flames burn Rangers 3-2
CALGARY — Mikael Backlund's power-play goal 1:28 into overtime on Saturday night gave the Calgary Flames a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers, snapping their seven-game winning streak.
Andrew Mangiapane and Nazem Kadri also scored for Calgary (26-19-11). The Flames pulled even in points with Minnesota for the second wild-card berth in the Western Conference, but the Wild have a game in hand.
Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexis Lafreniere replied for the Rangers (33-14-9), who have points in their last 10 games (8-0-2).
The Rangers had scored 36 goals during their winning streak — which included scoring at least four goals in seven straight games for the first time since February 1991.
But against a struggling Flames team, they could only solve Jacob Markstrom twice on 21 shots. Markstrom won for just the second time since Jan. 6. He improves to 15-13-7.
Jaroslav Halak, who had 29 stops, falls to 8-6-2.
The game-winner came 38 seconds into a high-sticking penalty on Adam Fox after the Rangers' defenceman caught Dillon Dube with a high stick in a scrum in the corner.
On the four-on-three man advantage, Backlund deflected Jonathan Huberdeau's shot past Halak.
Down 2-0 less than a minute into the game, the score remained that way for more than 36 minutes before New York cut the deficit in half at 16:53 of the second when Tarasenko capped off a pretty three-way passing play with Artemi Panarin and Vincent Trocheck.
Panarin's helper extended his point streak to seven games (6-9-15).
Calgary had numerous chances to regain a two-goal lead in the third, but Halak was excellent.
On an early power play, Halak stretched across the crease to stab Tyler Toffli's dangerous chance with his glove.
Midway through the period, he turned aside Kadri on a two-on-one and shortly after, robbed Dube on a breakaway.
Dube entered the game on a three-game goal streak with four goals and seven points over that span.
The Rangers tied it 2-2 at 12:48 of the third on a power play. Lafreniere got a pass from Trocheck and put a shot on net that was partially stopped by Markstrom. As the rebound slithered toward the far post, Lafreniere was able to tap it in before Markstrom could get across.
Calgary got off to a torrid start scoring goals eight seconds apart in the opening minute of the game.
Mangiapane got in alone and made a terrific deke move to notch his 12th goal at 38 seconds.
Right after, Kadri finished off a tick-tack-toe passing play with Huberdeau and Jakob Pelletier and his 21st goal of the season had the Saddledome crowd buzzing.
The Flames had a great chance to go up 3-0 when four minutes after his breakaway goal, Mangiapane got another breakaway, but changing tactics, his 30-foot wrist shot was stopped by Halak.
While the game was 2-0, Markstrom was the beneficiary of some good fortune in the second. In short succession, Jimmy Vesey had an open net, but put his shot off the side of the post. Then Trocheck stepped out of the penalty box onto a two-on-one but drilled his shot off the crossbar.
Flames were without No. 1 centre Elias Lindholm, away from the team for the birth of his first child. His spot between Dillon Dube and Tyler Toffoli was taken by Adam Ruzicka, who has no points in his last 15 games and has gone 26 games without a goal.
Calgary improves to 10-2-2 on Saturday games. That includes five straight wins at home on Saturdays.
Chris Kreider had his seven-game (5-4-9) point streak snapped while Mika Zibanejad (8-3-11) had his six-game points spree halted. Halak also had his seven-game winning streak snapped. He last loss was on Dec. 3, 2022.
Rangers: Return home to play host to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.
Flames: Wrap up a three-game homestand with a matinee on Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2023.
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press