Backlund, Flames roast struggling Ducks
CALGARY — Mikael Backlund scored twice and added an assist Wednesday night as the Calgary Flames jumped out to a 4-0 first period lead and cruised to a 7-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.
Up 2-0, Backlund set up Cammalleri in the slot for a power-play goal at 11:28. The quick shot past Jonas Hiller made it three goals on five shots and resulted in coach Bruce Boudreau pulling him from the game, replacing him with Frederik Andersen.
The change did not change the game’s momentum, however. Two minutes later, Backlund scored his 15th goal of the season on a wrist shot that slipped past the rookie goaltender.
Backlund added his second of the night 1:31 into the second period, this time shorthanded. Firing a wrist shot past Andersen as he broke in alone off the wing, it was the Flames’ second short-handed goal of the night and league-leading 11th of the season.
Backlund has four of them, tying him for top spot with Boston’s Brad Marchand and Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson.
Mark Giordano, TJ Galiardi, Ladislav Smid and Corban Knight with his first NHL goal also scored for Calgary (26-33-7). The Flames scored more than five goals in a game for the first time this season.
Andrew Cogliano with his 20th goal and Nick Bonino scored for Anaheim (43-16-7). Winless in their last four (0-2-2), the Ducks continue a three-game road trip Friday night in Colorado.
Anaheim continues to lead the Pacific Division by two points over the San Jose Sharks but the Ducks squander the game in hand that they held.
The Flames entered the night tied for the league-lead in one-goal games. The unusual blowout offensively for the home side was embraced by the crowd announced at 19,829, who gave the team a boisterous standing ovation after the first and second periods and once again when the game ended.
Up 6-2, the crowd got one last treat when Knight, from nearby High River, scored his first NHL goal with 1:57 left in the game.
There were signs early that it wasn’t going to be Anaheim’s night.
After peppering Flames rookie goalie Joni Ortio with a couple shots in the opening minute only to come away empty, Calgary made its first shot count when Giordano’s slapshot hit the shaft of Kyle Palmieri’s stick and re-directed into the top corner on Hiller at 3:39.
Bad luck for Anaheim was followed by some bad play. After Backlund was robbed on a two-on-one short-handed breakaway, the same penalty kill produced a three-on-one shortly after with Galiardi finishing off a neat set-up from Paul Byron at 7:10.
Making his fifth start in a row, Ortio had 20 saves to improve to 3-3-0.
In relief, Andersen finished with 16 saves. Hiller was tagged with the loss to fall to 26-10-6.