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Backlund leads Flames to 7-3 win over Canucks

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- Mikael Backlund scored his first NHL hat trick, and Joni Ortio made 24 saves to help the Calgary Flames to a 7-3 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.

Matt Stajan had three assists, Joe Colborne had a goal and two assists, and Dougie Hamilton, Deryk Engelland and Sam Bennett scored for the Flames (34-40-7), who have at least a point in three straight games (2-0-1).

Nikita Tryamkin, Bo Horvat and Emerson Etem scored, and Ryan Miller made 36 saves for the Canucks (30-38-13), who have lost two in a row after a three-game winning streak.

Neither team qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs after meeting in the Western Conference First Round last season. Calgary and Vancouver each finish the regular season on Saturday; the Flames will play at the Minnesota Wild, and the Canucks will host the Edmonton Oilers.

Backlund broke a 2-2 tie 1:18 into the second period. He couldn’t handle Stajan’s initial cross-crease pass off the rush but corralled the puck in time to bank a shot from below the goal line off Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller and into the net.

Etem tied it 3-3 with his third goal in four games at 6:54, but Colborne, on the power play, restored Calgary’s one-goal lead by tipping Hamilton’s point shot by Miller.

Backlund completed his hat trick with 51.2 seconds remaining in the second. On a shorthanded 2-on-1, Stajan passed to Backlund, who shot his career-high 21st goal by Miller’s glove to put Calgary up 5-3.

Engelland extended the lead to 6-3 at 15:08 of the third. On a 2-on-1, Stajan passed to Engelland, who shot over a sprawling Miller. Bennett scored 1:15 later, spinning away from a check behind the net before pulling the puck out front and sliding a shot between Miller’s legs to put Calgary up 7-3.

Backlund opened the scoring on the power play 2:47 into the game. Flames defenceman Jakub Nakladal made a backdoor pass through the slot to Backlund, who bobbled the puck before beating Miller.

The goal came 35 seconds after Ortio stopped Brendan Gaunce on a shorthanded breakaway.

Tryamkin tied it 1-1 with his first NHL goal at 6:23. His wrist shot from the point deflected off the stick of Flames forward Hunter Shinkaruk in the slot and skipped between Ortio’s legs.

Horvat put Vancouver up 2-1 on the power play at 17:36 with his fourth goal in five games, but Hamilton tied it 32 seconds later, shooting through a screen and over Miller’s shoulder on the short side.

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