Mikael Backlund collected a goal and an assist and Mike Smith stopped 34 shots in keeping the NHL’s top point producer Connor McDavid off the scoresheet as the Calgary Flames snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action Saturday night in Calgary.
The Oilers dominated play — and scoring chances — over the final two periods, but Smith held the fort all the way to the final buzzer at the Scotiabank Saddledome, especially after putting his team behind the eight ball early.
Anton Slepyshev opened the scoring just 2:41 into the game, taking advantage of a big miscue by Smith. Smith played the puck from behind the net and passed it right to Zack Kassian in the corner, and he fed Slepyshev to deposit the puck into a wide-open net.
Dougie Hamilton tied the game with Calgary’s first shot on Cam Talbot at the 6:43 mark. Hamilton wisely jumped into the play to receive a pass from Backlund as he reached the high slot, and he quickly ripped a top-corner, glove-side wrister for his 17th goal of the season, which leads all NHL defensemen.
Garnet Hathaway put the Flames ahead with a shorthanded goal at 11:54. Hathaway snapped a 41-game goal-scoring slump when he took a long shot on a 1-on-1 rush and banked in the puck off the far post.
Backlund, whose line matched against McDavid’s, made it 3-1 with 4:32 remaining in the first period. After Michael Stone’s shot was denied, Backlund pounced on a juicy rebound and swept a shot around the netminder.
Talbot was pulled after making just four saves. Al Montoya stopped all 13 shots he faced.
Michael Cammalleri snapped a 32-game goal drought, the longest of his career, at 12:41 of the second period to pull the Oilers within one. Cammalleri neatly deflected a point shot for his first goal since Dec. 21, but that’s as close as the Oilers could get.
McDavid was blanked for just the third time in 18 games.
Johnny Gaudreau was back in the Flames lineup after missing two games to be with his father after he had a heart attack. Spencer Foo, a free-agent signing out of the NCAA ranks last spring, made his NHL debut and skated on a line with Gaudreau.
—Field Level Media