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Backlund, Flames dump Cats

Red-hot centre scores pair 13-seconds apart to lead Calgary to victory

by Ty Pilson @TyPilson /

CALGARY, AB -- For Mikael Backlund, 13 was anything but unlucky Tuesday night.

The Flames red-hot centre, who now leads the team with 32 points, scored two goals 13 seconds apart in the second period to break open a tie game against the Florida Panthers at the Scotiabank Saddledome en route to a 5-2 victory.

With the teams knotted 2-2, Backlund's first tally came on the powerplay. Mark Giordano fired a shot on net that Matthew Tkachuk tipped up and over Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo. Backlund then swatted the puck into the net as it sat on the goal-line.

After the ensuing faceoff, Tkachuk made a beautiful pass from behind the net between his legs that Backlund fired home to double the Flames lead.
It was the third fastest back-to-back goals by a Flames player in franchise history. Johnny Gaudreau scored a pair 10 seconds apart last season while Lanny MacDonald scored two six seconds apart back in 1984.

The game didn't start so well for the homeside.

Panthers centre Vincent Trocheck got his first of the opening frame less than four minutes in, firing a shot high, glove-side past Flames starter Chad Johnson from the top of the right faceoff circle. 

Video: FLA@CGY: Backlund buries two goals in 13 seconds

Kris Versteeg answered for the hosts when his harmless looking backhand dump towards the net from some 40 feet out found its way past Luongo.

Trocheck gave the fans - and Johnson - a case of déjà vu when he scored on an identical shot from the same area of the ice on a Florida 3-on-1 rush.

The Panthers scored on two of their first three shots and were outshot 10-5 in the first period but led 2-1 at the break.

Luongo made the save of the period when he robbed Michael Frolik on the doorstep with Johnson pulled on a delayed penalty call. 

Giordano evened things up in the second period when Frolik curled behind the net on the powerplay and threw out a pass to the captain who snapped it past Luongo. 

Freddie Hamilton scored what looked like an incredible goal later in the frame, snapping a wrister from a sharp angle near the far board short-side past Luongo. However, the Panthers challenged saying the play was offside and after review, the goal was overturned. 

It was the first of two goals overturned in the game after offside challenges, with a tally by Lance Bouma in the third also turfed.

Sean Monahan scored his 13th of the season into an empty-net to round out the scoring.

Video: FLA@CGY: Versteeg nets a backhand through traffic

The Flames improved to 24-20-3 with the victory.

NOTES: Jaromir Jagr, who turns 45 on Feb. 15, recently passed Mark Messier for second all-time in NHL scoring and came into Tuesday night with 1,895 points. He would need nine straight 100-point plus seasons to pass Wayne Gretzky, who sits first with 2,857 … Gretzky has more assists (1,963) than Jagr has points … Flames rookie standout Tkachuk is the lone NHL freshman with 15-or-more assists since Dec. 1 … Flames LW Micheal Ferland missed his third straight game with a lower-body injury. 

UP NEXT: The Flames play the second game of a three-game homestand when they welcome the Nashville Predators to the Scotiabank Saddledome (7 P.M., SNW, FAN960).


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