Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Gaudreau Scores Twice, Sets Up Backlund's Winner as Flames Beat Preds in OT

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Gaudreau Scores Twice, Sets Up Backlund's Winner as Flames Beat Preds in OT

Article excerpt

Backlund scores in OT, Flames edge Predators


CALGARY - Johnny Gaudreau was born in New Jersey, but Calgary's Scotiabank Saddledome feels like home.

Gaudreau scored goals 10 seconds apart in the first period, then set up Mikael Backlund's overtime winner to lead the Flames to a 3-2 win on Wednesday night over the red-hot Nashville Predators.

"I just love playing in front of our fans," said Gaudreau, who snapped a rare four-game pointless drought. "Whether we lose or win, they're proud of us. So for me, the best gift to give back to them in a losing season is work my hardest each night and show them some creativity and excitement."

The winning goal came on a perfectly executed two-on-one with Gaudreau patiently hanging onto the puck then setting up Backlund at the side of the net 1:12 into the extra period.

"There aren't too many guys like him in this league. He's definitely up there with Patrick Kane," said Backlund. "He's having a dominant year, but those two guys are so quick in tight with the stick, too. It's impressive to watch."

The three-point night gives the sophomore left winger a career-high 66 points. Forty-eight (23 goals, 25 assists) have come at the Saddledome where he leads the league in home scoring, two points up on Kane.

"It's always tougher on the road. That's why we call this home-ice advantage. You get the last change and you can put him against certain defencemen or certain centres," said Flames coach Bob Hartley.

Calgary (28-34-5) improves to 1-0-1 on a six-game homestand that continues Friday night against Arizona.

Anthony Bitetto, with his first career goal, and Mike Fisher scored for Nashville (34-21-13), which is 2-0-1 with two games remaining on a five-game road trip.

The Predators, who are 1-12 in overtime, extended their franchise record point streak to 14 games (9-0-5). They've also gone nearly two months since their last regulation loss on the road, going 11-0-3 over that stretch. …

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