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Flames forward scores OT winner as Calgary opens trip with 4-3 comeback victory


NEWARK -- Mikael Backlund scored the overtime winner and Brian Elliott made 26 saves to help the Calgary Flames to a 4-3 win against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on Friday.
Sean Monahan, Kris Versteeg and Matt Stajan also scored for Calgary (27-24-3), which has won three-in-a-row following a four-game losing streak. 
"It was a battle," Elliott said. "I don't think we could say it's our best game of the season but we battled to get those points."
The victory elevates the Flames into the first wildcard position into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Flames are one point up on the Los Angeles Kings and two ahead of the St. Louis Blues. Each team has three games at hand.

Backlund scored 1:13 into the extra frame when he converted on a backdoor pass from TJ Brodie. 
"I tried to get it off quick, (Cory Schneider is) a quick goalie," Backlund said. "So high and quick."
The assist was Brodie's fourth helper of the game. He is the first Flames defenceman with four assists in a game since Dion Phaneuf accomplished the feat on Dec 5, 2008.
"I'd like to take some credit for that," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "I had a long meeting with TJ Brodie this morning and I told him I wanted him to shoot more and not pass so much and get pucks on the net and he gets four assists so he didn't listen to me at all. So I'm going to take credit for those four assists."
Stajan redirected Brodie's pass by Schneider at 7:22 of the third period to tie the game 3-3 and force overtime. 
"Tonight was big," Brodie said.
Schneider made 34 saves and Adam Henrique, Pavel Zacha and Kyle Palmieri scored for the Devils. 
Monahan beat Schneider short side with a shot off the bar to open the scoring at 17:15 of the first period, just three seconds after a holding-the-stick minor to Devils defenseman Ben Lovejoy expired. 
Monahan has nine goals in his past 10 games and 99 in his NHL career. He can become the youngest player in franchise history to score 100 goals. Joe Nieuwendyk currently holds the distinction when he scored his 100th on Mar. 14, 1989, at 22 years, 185 days. Monahan is at 22 years and 114 days.

Video: CGY@NJD: Monahan goes bar-down to open the scoring
Versteeg scored a power-play goal 22 seconds into the second period to extend Calgary's lead to 2-0. 
Henrique's wraparound caught Elliott looking the wrong way to make it 2-1 at 8:36 and Zacha tied the game at 11:39 when he chipped the rebound on Mike Cammalleri's wide shot over the goal line. 
Flames coach Glen Gulutzan challenged that Henrique entered Calgary's zone offside, but video review determined he had possession and control of the puck as he entered.
Palmieri put the Devils up 3-2 with 23.7 seconds remaining in the second when the shaft of his stick batted in a rebound after Taylor Hall's initial shot. 
NOTES: The four-assist outing was Brodie's first four-point game of his NHL career. Johnny Gaudreau finished with two assists. Monahan, Kris Versteeg and Dougie Hamilton each finished with five shots on Schneider. Micheal Ferland and Troy Brouwer led the Flames with four hits each. Forward Freddie Hamilton and defenceman Brett Kulak were scratched. Forward Garnet Hathaway (upper body) remains sidelined because of injury.
UP NEXT: The Flames continue with the second of a three-game road trip against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Sunday (NOON MT; SN360, SN960).


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