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game recap

Backlund gets first hat trick, Flames defeat Canucks

Calgary's Stajan, Colborne get three points each, Ortio makes 24 saves in win

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

Backlund earns hat trick

VAN@CGY: Backlund nets SHG to collect hat trick

4/7/16: Mikael Backlund rips a shot past the glove of Ryan Miller off a shorthanded rush to record his third goal of the game

  • 01:50 •

CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames found a small glimmer of positivity in a disappointing season Thursday.
Mikael Backlund scored his first NHL hat trick, and Joni Ortio made 24 saves to help the Flames to a 7-3 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Scotiabank Saddledome in their final home game of the season.

"It feels great to finish off the way we did," Backlund said. "Everybody played well tonight and chipped in. We wanted to show appreciation for our fans. They've been with us the whole year even though it's been a tough year for us, not the year we expected for ourselves. It's a nice way to finish.
"Hopefully, next year we can bounce back and make a playoff push."
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).
"Our fans have been great all year," Stajan said. "It's been a tough year, there's no doubt. They've stood by us the whole year. It's nice to go out there and put up seven goals for them. It wasn't the prettiest game. There was a lot of sloppy hockey. But we played hard. We were opportunistic. We had a lot of odd-man rushes we took advantage of. It's nice to send them off like that and let them know we'll be ready to go next year."
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 Saturday; the Flames will play at the Minnesota Wild, and the Canucks will host the Edmonton Oilers.
"There's one game left now," Vancouver forward Jannik Hansen said. "I don't know. Obviously, change is going to happen. This is the worst I've ever been a part of here since I've been here. It hasn't been very fun."
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.
"I think it's been a problem this year; we have a few good games, and then we have a few bad games," Vancouver forward Daniel Sedin said. "I think our last 10-12 games we talked about being consistent each and every night, and I think we have been up until these last two games. This hasn't been good enough. It's up to me and [Henrik Sedin] and the top players to be better."
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 Miller and into the net.
"It was that kind of game," Backlund said. "Things were going good for me."
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 NHL career-high 21st goal by Miller's glove to put Calgary up 5-3.
"I didn't score in the playoffs against [the Canucks] at all," Backlund said. "I guess this year it's been that way. I always like these rival games -- Edmonton and Vancouver. The last couple years, it's been a little more against Vancouver."
Stajan got his third assist on Engelland's goal at 15:08 of the third to extend Calgary's lead to 6-3. On another 2-on-1, Stajan passed to Engelland, who shot over a sprawling Miller.
"It's nice to contribute, no doubt," said Stajan, who has 17 points in 79 games. "It's been one of those years you're squeezing it and you're not getting a lot of looks. Tonight, the puck was bouncing. We were getting 2-on-1 breaks. We were opportunistic. The guys I was playing with put themselves in positions to get open for me, and I was able to make some plays."
Bennett scored 1:15 after Engelland, 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 defenseman Jakub Nakladal made a backdoor pass through the slot to Backlund, who bobbled the puck before beating Miller.
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, and Horvat put Vancouver up 2-1 on the power play at 17:36 with his fourth goal in five games.
Hamilton tied it 32 seconds later, shooting through a screen and over Miller's shoulder on the short side.

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