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Game 2 Player To Watch: Mikael Backlund

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

ANAHEIM, CA -- The chances have been there for Calgary Flames pivot Mikael Backlund.

But the goals haven't come.

Despite multiple great scoring chances and leading the team in shots (23), the Swede has been held to just one assist in seven postseason dates.

Throughout the first round, Backlund had multiple scoring chances, helped boost rookie Sam Bennett's game, and drove possession amongst forwards. He was also strong in the face-off circling, winning over 50 percent of his draws in three of the six games against the Vancouver Canucks.

In Game 1 against the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday, Backlund led the Flames with five shots on net -- 21 percent of Calgary's shots on Frederik Andersen -- and had two of his attempts blocked by Anaheim's defence corps.

If Backlund can build off Thursday's game and have one or two of his chances beat Andersen, it would significantly augment Calgary's offence, which was held to one goal in Game 1.

The 26-year-old is looking forward to the challenge ahead of he and his teammates and the chance to even up the series heading back to Calgary next week.

"If we get a win on Sunday, we're in a really good spot," Backlund said earlier this week. "I'm not guaranteeing anything here. I'm just saying if we were to win the next one, we're in a great spot. We're back to home ice advantage.

"We've got to look at it in a positive way. Sunday, we've got to be better prepared for tougher games than we had against Vancouver."

The Flames dropped two games to the Canucks in the first round and Backlund believes they can take what they learned from those setbacks and apply it to this series.

"It was a tight series," he stated. "We lost two games that we had to rebound from and we're going to have to do the same thing. Learn from it, forget about it, and have a positive attitude heading into [Game 2]."

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