CALGARY — Mikael Backlund scored in overtime for the Calgary Flames, who worked their way back into their playoff series with the Anaheim Ducks with a 4-3 win on Tuesday.
The Flames stayed unbeaten at home this NHL post-season and trail the Ducks two games to one in their best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final series.
“It was an amazing feeling. It’s hard to describe,” said Backlund. “I didn’t believe it went in at first but when I saw all the reaction and all the fans going crazy and my teammates going crazy, it’s just an unbelievable feeling.”
Friday’s Game 4 at the Scotiabank Saddledome will be followed by Game 5 back in Anaheim, Calif., on Sunday.
On a delayed Ducks penalty and with Flames goaltender Karri Ramo on the bench for an extra attacker, Backlund’s shot from the blue-line through traffic beat Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen at 4:24 of overtime.
Johnny Gaudreau’s goal in the dying second of the third period forced extra time for Calgary. Joe Colborne, with a short-handed goal in the second period, and Brandon Bollig also scored for the Flames in front of a sellout at the Saddledome. Ramo made 18 saves for the win.
“We’re still fighting an uphill battle,” said Colborne. “The way we’ve been playing at home, the way we have the support of our fans right now, we’re feeling confident we can take care of business here and go try and figure things out in Anaheim. It’ll be a hungry hockey team here in a couple days.
“We need to kind of plant this behind us just like we did after Games 1 and 2 and make sure we come out and we’re ready for Game 4.”
Patrick Maroon, Corey Perry and Matt Beleskey countered for the Ducks, who led 2-1 after the first period and 3-2 after the second.
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf contributed a pair of two assists and Andersen made stopped 17 shots in the loss.
Controversy brewed in the third when officials waived off a potential Sam Bennett equalizer for Calgary. The rookie’s shot from close-range at 13:38 appeared from certain angles to slide under Andersen’s right pad and behind the goal-line.
The NHL’s situation room ruled “no conclusive evidence” of a goal, much to the Saddledome’s dismay when that decision was announced.
But Gaudreau deflected attention away from the fuss by scoring the tying goal and his first of this series with 19 seconds left in regulation.
“That’s an all-world shot,” said Colborne. “There was probably three or four inches there and Johnny just picked it.”
With Ramo pulled for a two-man advantage on a Flames power play in the final minute, the Calder Trophy finalist’s wrist shot beat Andersen glove side. It was Calgary’s first power-play goal of the series after going 0 for 11.
The Flames went 3-0 at home in their first-round win over the Vancouver Canucks in six games. Calgary lost both games in Anaheim to open their second-round series.
The Ducks’ Beleskey scored his third in as many games in this series for a go-ahead goal in the second period. He wristed a drop pass from Ryan Kesler past Ramo at 8:20 to give the visitors a 3-2 lead.
Colborne’s first goal of the post-season was short-handed at 4:17 to tie the game 2-2. Anaheim defenceman Hampus Lindholm lost his footing and Colborne went in alone beating Andersen going backhand to forehand.
Getzlaf’s face adorns a banner hanging from the Saddledome rafters because he was a major junior star with the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen.
The captain was the difference for the Ducks in the first period as it was him muscling the puck away from Flames defenceman T.J. Brodie that led to Perry’s goal.
Perry tucked the puck bottom corner on Ramo’s stick side to give the visitors at 2-1 lead at 14:10 of the first period.
With his 70th career playoff point for Anaheim, Perry moved clear of Teemu Selanne into second all-time behind Getzlaf with 86.
Getzlaf also set the table for Maroon’s goal at 10:01 with a finesse pass from beyond the faceoff circle to Maroon for the re-direct.
The Flames opened the scoring for the first time in the series with Bollig’s goal at 2:07.
With Anaheim pinching along the boards, Bollig headed for open ice and scored top corner off an odd-man rush with Mason Raymond.