A pair of Calgary Flames, a rookie and a veteran, shined in win over Montreal

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
On Saturday night, the Calgary Flames hosted their old rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, as the Saddledome hosted ’80s night. On a night where they were out-shot by the opposition, the Flames got strong goaltending and timely goals, ultimately beating the Habs by a 5-2 score.
The standouts for the home side were the team’s elder statesman, captain Mikael Backlund, and rookie netminder Dustin Wolf.
Playing in his 975th career game on the eve of his 35th birthday, Backlund did what Backlund usually does. Despite leaving the game briefly – he declined to go into details post-game about his departure and return – he spent most of his evening matched up against Nick Suzuki’s top line at even strength, with his group out-scoring Suzuki’s 2-1.
More importantly, Backlund was in on a pair of important goals that book-ended the game. In the first period, he opened the scoring with his 199th career goal, tipping a MacKenzie Weegar point shot past netminder Cayden Primeau to give the Flames a 1-0 lead (and their first of two power play goals on the evening).
In the third period, with the Flames up 4-2, Backlund was on the ice as the Flames hemmed the Canadiens in their own zone, with a puck-cycling sequence ending with Daniil Miromanov scoring on a rebound to put the game completely out of reach at 5-2.
In-between, Backlund scored his 200th goal of his NHL career in the opening minute of the second period.
“It feels special scoring 200 goals for sure in this league,” said Backlund, who became the 11th player to score 200 with the franchise. “I put in a lot of work in my life to get to the NHL and to be able to score 200 goals is very special… It feels really good to get it, especially to get all the goals obviously here in Calgary, too. Some good company here in the organization’s history.”
Speaking to the media following the game, head coach Ryan Huska had a lot of praise for Backlund’s performance on the evening (and his impact throughout this season).
“He was awesome tonight,” said Huska. “Again, you look to your leaders all the time. Mikael’s been fantastic this year, and I really feel like he’s elevated his play on the ice for us this year in a lot of different situations, but for me being able to work with him on a daily basis and see how he’s handled the room, he’s been fantastic, so it’s nice to see him to get that goal, or goals, for us tonight.”
While Backlund is a well-established NHLer chasing franchise milestones, equally impressive was Wolf, making just his 10th NHL appearance and still attempting to carve out a spot at hockey’s top level. Two days removed from a stellar performance against the Vegas Golden Knights, Wolf made 36 saves to capture his second consecutive win.
“I thought he was excellent,” said Huska on Wolf’s performance. “Early on he was calm and composed again, and he looked like he was in total control. He’s had back-to-back good games.”
The win was Wolf’s third of the season, drawing his record to 3-3-1 with a 3.14 goals against average and .900 save percentage. The only blemishes on his evening were a one-timer goal from Cole Caufield and a David Savard point shot through traffic. Just a month shy of his 23rd birthday, Wolf mentioned his comfort in the Flames net following the game.
“I think every time you get to play more minutes, you feel more and more comfortable,” said Wolf. “You know, I saw a lot of rubber today, so it kinda got me into the game pretty quick. We put up five, so it makes my life pretty easy back there.”
The victory came on an evening when the Flames had Lanny McDonald and other members of the 1989 Stanley Cup championship team. On a night where the team celebrated their past success they received a vintage performance from their captain, but perhaps also got a taste of what’s yet to come from their goaltender of the future.
The Flames are back in action on Monday when they host the Washington Capitals.
Let’s get rowdy! GAME DAY hosted by Flamesnation & Barn Burner at Greta Bar YYC is coming at you live on Saturday March 23rd! Join the crew at our favorite Game Day Watch Party spot, Greta, to watch Calgary take on Vancouver! Doors open at 7pm. Tickets are $10! Good food, good prizes and a guaranteed good time. This event is brought to you by McLeod Law LLP and Village Honda. Get your tickets at nationgear.ca before they sell out!

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