Backlund keys Flames win over Golden Knights - their ninth in 13 games
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Mikael Backlund had a goal and an assist, Jacob Markstrom made 32 saves and the Calgary Flames beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 on Saturday night for their ninth NHL victory in 13 games.
Blake Coleman and Nazem Kadri also scored for the Flames, who concluded a 3-0 sweep with their fathers in attendance — the first in Calgary, and the last two on the road for their annual “Dad's Trip.”
“Everybody's been energized and it's good time to spend time with dads and brothers and all of that,” said Markstrom, who has now allowed two or fewer goals in six of his last 10 starts.
In that span, since Dec. 18, Markstrom ranks fourth in the league with a 2.02 goals-against average among netminders with at least eight starts.
“We can’t go .500 anymore,” Markstrom said. “We got to try to make up ground and catch teams. We've got to string a few together. This was a good trip and we got to go home and charge the batteries tomorrow and then get back to work.”
“I think the system we play has been good for us, we just have to execute,” said Jonathan Marchessault, who played his 599th career game. “It’s a privilege to play in the NHL and you got to find a way to do your job.
" … You need to take the opportunity in front of you, right now we don’t have enough guys that are doing that.”
Calgary struck first during a power play midway through the first period, when Coleman gathered a rebound in front of the net and slipped under Thompson’s pads for his team-high 19th goal of the season and fourth in three games.
The Flames extended their lead quickly, this time with Kadri in front of the net with Thompson out of position and unable to move back into the crease with teammate Nic Hague in the way. Kadri punched home the loose puck for his 10th career goal against Vegas.
Vegas provided a nice pushback over the first half of the second period, but Markstrom stayed sharp in making several big stops under pressure.
The Flames would eventually reward Markstrom with a three-goal lead when Backlund deked around Thompson in the crease before tapping it in for his 10th goal of the season. Andrew Mangiapane got his 200th career point with an assist.
“It was obviously a huge win by us,” Backlund said. “We had a really good start again then it got a little tighter throughout the game and wasn’t maybe our best second and third period but we find a way, we grind it, and Marky played so well for us tonight. And so yeah, really big win for us.”
Flames: Host Arizona on Tuesday night.
Golden Knights: Host Nashville on Monday night.
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