DETROIT (AP) — Mikael Backlund and the Calgary Flames got their six-game road trip started in the best way possible.
Backlund scored the tiebreaking goal with 7:46 left in the third period to give Calgary a 3-2 victory over the slumping Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.
“This is huge, because we’re looking at these six games almost like a playoff series,” said Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who had three assists. “We know we have to pick up some wins on this trip, and this is a good start.”.
Garnet Hathaway got his first career goal and Matt Stajan also scored for Calgary. Chad Johnson stopped 21 shots.
“I thought this was a very even game, but we did a nice job of capitalizing on our chances,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. “We didn’t lose any momentum coming out of the Chicago game, where we played very well in a loss.”.
Tomas Tatar and Anthony Mantha scored for Detroit, which lost its fourth straight game. Jimmy Howard made 23 saves.
“I think we gave them their chances. I think from the start, a few turnovers in our own end, all of a sudden they end up spending a minute, minute and a half in our end instead of making a simple play and move the play out to the neutral zone,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said.
Backlund broke a 2-all tie when he slammed Michael Frolik’s pass from the left circle past Howard and into the open side of the net for his second goal.
“We better pick ourselves up and we better come to work tomorrow to get better,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. “And we better put the work in that it takes to earn confidence come Wednesday (at Buffalo). That’s the bottom line. We better pick ourselves up in a hurry and focus on coming to win a hockey game on Wednesday.”.
Mantha tied it 2-all 7:59 into the third with his first of the season. He put a snap shot under the crossbar on the short side after bringing the puck out from behind the net.
Stajan gave the Flames a 2-1 lead at 2:31 of the third with his first goal of the season. He tipped in Hamilton’s slap shot from the right point.
Hathaway tied it 1-all at 3:40 of the second. Hathaway, who was beside the net and battling with a Red Wings player, got the shaft of his stick on a high shot by Hamilton from the top of the right circle and deflected it into the empty side of the net.
“That’s an amazing feeling. I saw Fer (Micheal Ferland) get the puck to Dougie, so I went to the net,” Hathaway said. “It was an odd play, because Howard was still flailing around, so I wasn’t sure if he had the puck or if it had gone in. I’ll probably tell people that I sniped it — that sounds a lot better. We’ve still got five more road games, so it is big to get this one and get some momentum.”.
Tatar gave Detroit a 1-0 lead 8:06 into the game. He blindly slid a puck toward the net from the high slot that beat Johnson. It was Tatar’s third goal and only his second in 14 games.
Howard was forced to make a couple of saves in close after Red Wings giveaways deep in their zone.
Detroit defenseman Alexey Marchenko left with an upper-body injury after taking a hit from Ferland with a little less than 5:30 left in the second period. Blashill said Marchenko will likely be out “a little while” and the team would have more information Monday.
NOTES: Detroit LW Thomas Vanek returned after missing 11 games with a hip injury. The Red Wings were 3-7-1 without Vanek and averaged under two goals per game. He had four goals and eight points in seven games. … Calgary forward Johnny Gaudreau missed his second game after sustaining a broken finger on a slash by Minnesota C Eric Staal. Gaudreau will miss six to eight weeks. … Red Wings C Darren Helm missed his second game after dislocating his shoulder. He also will be out six to eight weeks.
Flames: Visit the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.
Red Wings: Visit the Sabres on Wednesday night.