Streaking Flames top Wild in OT
The NHL's longest current winning spree is the end result for a team way down in the standings.
Calgary cobbled together a perfect five-game homestand -- its longest winning streak since March 2012 -- thanks to Backlund's second tally of the game halfway through the extra period. This is a team that had a club record seven-game home losing skid just before this run.
"It's a great feeling. Everybody's happy and guys are buzzing in here, having a great time with each other," said Backlund who is on the best run of his career with five goals and eight points in four games. "It's a lot nicer to win, especially at home with your family. Losing seven games (at home) was tough, you bring a little too much of it home, I know I did, so it's nice to win."
Galiardi snapped a 37-game scoring slump -- his last goal came in the second game of the season -- to open the scoring before the announced Scotiabank Saddledome crowd of 19,289. Wideman scored for the first time since Nov. 16, a stretch in which he was blanked in 14 games and missed another 16 due to a broken bone in his hand.
"Everyone knows it's been a long time. I'm just happy it's over with," said Galiardi, who had a two-point outing.
When Backlund potted a short-handed goal early in the third period to make it a 3-1 game, everyone figured this one was done and dusted, however, the Wild came back thanks to goals by right winger Dany Heatley and defenseman Keith Ballard.
"It's a big point, no question, but starts have cost us the last two games," Heatley said. "I think we're not as aggressive coming out. I think in the thirds the last two nights, we're tight on teams, we're skating better, we're playing five guys on the forecheck. We're a good team when we do that. The first two periods of the last two games, it's kind of 'wait and see' and like that we're not going to have success."
Flames starting goalie Karri Ramo left the game late in the first period after suffering a lower-body injury, and Reto Berra made 14 saves in relief for the win.
Curiously, none of Berra's seven wins this season have come in regulation time.
It was billed as Western Night, but the Flames made a late switch with their attire. They were supposed to don the new third jerseys, but having lost all eight games this season when wearing them, the team changed to the regular sweaters.
"I talked to Brian (Burke, the team's president of hockey operations) and I said, 'We're playing so well right now. Can we just keep going?'" coach Bob Hartley said. "Brian said 'Let me check,' and he got back to me and said, 'Yeah, I can help you that way.'
"Little superstitions, sometimes they work and sometimes they don't."
NOTES: Flames LW Michael Cammalleri returned after missing nine games because of a concussion suffered on Jan. 11. To make room for him in the lineup, LW TJ Galiardi was moved to center on the fourth line and C Ben Street was a healthy scratch. ... Wild LW Zach Parise was named captain of the U.S. Olympic team that will compete in Sochi and D Ryan Suter was named as one of the alternate captains. Both are alternate captains forMinnesota. ... Calgary D Kris Russell was a late scratch because of an upper-body injury. D Chris Breen played his first NHL since Dec. 27. ... With the Flames having both members of their truculence duo -- RW Brian McGrattan and RW Kevin Westgarth -- in the lineup, Minnesota opted to suit up LW Mike Rupp in favor of C Torrey Mitchell. ... Wild D Jared Spurgeon (foot) is back practicing fully with the team but isn't quite ready to play yet. ... The Flames had a five-game streak of two or fewer penalties, collecting a total of 14 penalty minutes in those games, but that run ended in a chippy affair ... Flames D Mark Giordano earned a pair of assists to extend his point-scoring streak to nine games, the longest run by a Flames blueliner since Gary Suter had a 13-game run in the 1992-93 campaign.