Flames Squeak Past Hurricanes – Backlund Nets OT Winner

CALGARY — Mikael Backlund scored 15 seconds into overtime to lift the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 win over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

Calgary (33-13-5) heads into the all-star break the No. 1 team in the NHL’s Western Conference six points up on the San Jose Sharks.

Petr Mrazek, Mikael Backlund,
Carolina Hurricanes Petr Mrazek reacts as Calgary Flames’ Mikael Backlund celebrates his game-winning goal. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

Oliver Kylington and Mark Jankowski also scored for the Flames, who will post a 9-1-1 record in January.

David Rittich had 33 saves to improve to 8-0-2 in his last 10 starts.

Carolina’s Sebastian Aho scored with 44 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

Andrei Svechnikov also scored for the Hurricanes (23-20-6), who are trying to work their way into the wild-card race in the East.

Hurricanes goaltender Peter Mrazek had 22 saves and denied the Flames on several golden scoring chances.

Carolina carried a 26-11 margin in shots after two periods, but trailed 2-1.

Jankowski scored four-on-four at 6:40 of the second period. Backlund dished T.J. Brodie’s cross-ice pass to Jankowski lurking at the corner of the Hurricanes net to bat the puck over Mrazek.

Svechnikov drew the visitors event at 15:48 of the first period. Carolina defenceman Dougie Hamilton wristed a drop pass from Brock McGinn towards the net for Svechnikov to tip by Rittich.

Calgary’s Kylington darted out of the corner and beat Mrazek’s glove with a backhand at 1:58 of the first period. The ‘Canes challenged arguing goaltender interference, but were denied.

The all-star break combined with a bye will be an eight-day break for the Flames, with the exception of all-star participants Johnny Gaudreau and head coach Bill Peters.

Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters
Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

Calgary’s next game Feb. 1 is against the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals before a rematch with the Hurricanes in Raleigh two days later.

Tuesday’s game was the first between the two NHL teams since Peters resigned as head coach of the Hurricanes after four seasons and was hired by the Flames in April, 2018.

Hamilton and forward Micheal Ferland also played their first game in Calgary after they were dealt to the ‘Canes in exchange for right-winger Elias Lindholm and defenceman Noah Hanifin at the 2018 draft.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press