HASH(0x292cf80)

Mikael Backlund stays hot as Calgary Flames down Colorado Avalanche 4-1

Backlund stays hot as Flames down Avs 4-1

CALGARY — Mikael Backlund continues to be rewarded for his two-way game.

The Flames centre remained red hot, scoring for the fifth consecutive game as Calgary beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1 on Wednesday night.

“My whole line have been playing really well,” says Backlund, who recorded his 200th career point. “When you get rewarded, the extra confidence jumps a little bit. I think we’ve been creating lots the whole year.”

Backlund made it six goals in his last five games at 17:20 of the second period when he fired home a Mark Giordano rebound for his team-leading 12th goal.

It is the longest goal streak for the Flames since Curtis Glencross scored in seven consecutive games from Feb. 27 to Mar. 11, 2012.

“He’s confident and everything that he’s putting towards the net is going in,” said Calgary head coach Glen Gulutzan. “He’s getting rewarded for the work he’s done prior. That line, they’ve played 200-foot hockey the right way from training camp until now. “

Backlund has played all season with Michael Frolik on right wing. For the past two months, rookie Matthew Tkachuk has played on the left side. With an assist, the 19-year-old has a six-game scoring streak going (one goal, six assists).

“This is the best I’ve seen (Backlund) in his career. That’s saying a lot because he has been really good the last couple years,” said Giordano. “Two-way centerman who doesn’t get the acknowledgment all the time because he doesn’t have the high-end numbers offensively. This year things are going in for him.”

Kris Versteeg, Alex Chiassson and Johnny Gaudreau also scored for Calgary (21-17-2). Giordano, TJ Brodie and Sean Monahan had two assists each. Chiasson also chipped in an assist for a two-point night.

Patrick Wiercioch was the lone scorer for Colorado (12-25-1), owner of the NHL’s worst record. The Avalanche have lost five in a row and 10 of their last 11.

Versteeg at 15:25, nine seconds into Calgary’s first power play, scored the only goal of the first period.

Forty-four seconds after Chiasson made it 3-0 at 13:25 of the third, Calgary made it three power-play goals when Gaudreau faked out Calvin Pickard and stuffed the puck inside the goal post.

“Special teams were a big part of the game obviously,” said Colorado coach Jared Bednar. “We’ve been undisciplined with our sticks and tonight you didn’t see much different and it ended up costing us a hockey game.”

Calgary’s power play has been on a real roll the last five weeks. Ranked 30th in the NHL at the end of November at 10.1 per cent (8 for 79), it has been the best in the NHL since that point, operating at 35.7 per cent (20 for 56) top climb to 10th.

“After 40 minutes, not the best five-on-five game we played all year, but we’re coming into the third with a 2-0 lead thanks to two power play goals. Special teams are huge in this league and our power play has been great,” said Chiasson.

Brian Elliott’s bid for his first shutout of the season ended with 1:25 left in the third period on Wiercioch’s third goal.

“We made stupid mistakes again,” said former Flames forward Joe Colborne. “We keep talking about it and we don’t execute. We shoot ourselves in the foot by taking penalties. It’s frustrating.”

Elliott was tested only 18 times in winning his fifth straight start to improve to 8-9-1. Pickard, finished with 33 stops to fall to 6-11-1.

Up next for the Flames, who have won four of their last five, is a home-and-home with the Vancouver Canucks that begins Friday at Rogers Arena.

Notes: Backlund ties Dallas’ Patrick Eaves and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby for the second longest goal streak this season. Nashville’s James Neal had a six-game in November… Freddie Hamilton drew into the Flames lineup for the first time since Dec. 2… Since his opening game hat trick, Colborne has gone 29 games without a goal.

Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Backlund had seven goals in five games instead of six goals. A previous version also had an incorrect byline.

Just Posted

Recovery centre operator said neighbours bought property ‘in haste’

Penticton addiction recovery centre plan halted by neighbours

Attempted carjacking at Penticton mall

A 24-year-old man is in custody, while a 37-year-old woman was uninjured by the incident

Fundraising effort for man assaulted at Penticton nightclub

A GoFundMe account was created to assist the Penticton man that was assaulted

Osoyoos looking at two more councillors

The increase would take council from five to seven members, on par with their neighbours in Oliver

Forgoing Christmas gifts to help the Salvation Army

Penticton group gives to Salvation Army

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Border officers rally at B.C.’s Peace Arch

CBSA employees tire of ‘lack of respect’

FCC votes along party lines to end ‘net neutrality’

Move rolls back restrictions that keep big providers from blocking services they don’t like

Performance embodies true meaning of Christmas

Caravan Farm Theatre presents O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi by Maristella Roca until Dec. 31

Family of Vancouver Island RCMP officer killed by drunk driver sues

Lawsuit seeks financial compensation from Kenneth Jacob Fenton

SPCA seizes 74 animals from Barriere property

Constables removed sheep, piglets, chickens and more

Victoria gets approval for supervised consumption site

It is scheduled to open in the spring/summer of 2018 and will be the first permanent facility on Vancouver Island

Bear spray used in tenant dispute

Salmon Arm RCMP responding to Tappen home invasion find occupants sprayed in repllent

Home services, rental rates top concerns: B.C. seniors’ watchdog

Premier John Horgan pledges action on rental housing in 2018

Most Read