CALGARY — Mikael Backlund scored with 4:29 remaining in the third period for the Calgary Flames in their third straight win, 3-2 against the Vegas Golden Knights at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday.
Backlund chipped a shot over Logan Thompson‘s glove after he took a wraparound feed from Blake Coleman.
“I had a feeling he was going to wrap it, take it to the net,” Backlund said. “I think I was going to drive far post. That’s usually where it ends up when somebody wraps it. I was happy to see it came onto my stick and I was just happy to put it in.”
Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli each had a goal, Jonathan Huberdeau had two assists, and Jacob Markstrom made 19 saves for the Flames (3-0-0), who opened an eight-game homestand.
“It’s a good start. You can’t start any better statistically,” Coleman said. “But every guy in this room thinks they’ve got another level to get to and more to add to this team if we really want to push to be a contender. These are nice little measuring stick games now, they’re going to be irrelevant come Game 60. We’ve just got to continue to focus on ourselves and keep getting better and better.”
William Carrier and Brett Howden scored, and Thompson made 37 saves for the Golden Knights (3-1-0).
“We’ll definitely respond. It’s a veteran group here,” said Thompson, who is from Calgary. “We know what we’ve got to do and we’ll be better. Get back to practice and get back to work.”
Carrier put the Golden Knights up 1-0 at 3:55 of the first period when his wrist shot from inside the blue line went in off Markstrom’s glove.
Howden made it 2-0 at 15:23, tipping in defenseman Brayden McNabb‘s point shot.
“You’ve got to be ready to go, ready to win your battles,” McNabb said. “This is a hard rink to come in and play in. You’ve got to manage the puck well. We haven’t overly had success in this rink, so taking care of the puck is probably the biggest thing.”
Lindholm, who had a goal disallowed earlier in the period, cut the lead to 2-1 at 10:43 of the second period on a power play after a review confirmed the puck wasn’t batted in by a Flames high stick.
Toffoli scored a power-play goal from the slot to tie it 2-2 at 13:19.
“When we’re on we’re a really good team,” Backlund said. “We still haven’t played a full 60. You can tell this is a really good team, but we’ve got to put it together for 60 minutes now.”
The Golden Knights took six straight minor penalties in the second period.
“You’ve got a lot of your better players, skilled guys, not playing,” McNabb said. “You’re killing penalties and it wears you out a little bit. They’re making plays, they’re getting chances. It definitely takes the rhythm away.”
NOTES: The Flames have won the first three games of a season for the first time since 2009-10, when they won the first four. … Calgary coach Darryl Sutter coached his 1,400th NHL game, tying him for the 10th most in NHL history with Pat Quinn. … Nazem Kadri, who signed a seven-year, $49 million contract ($7 million average annual value) with the Flames on Aug. 18, leads them with four points (one goal, three assists). … Vegas forward Phil Kessel is three games from tying Keith Yandle’s all-time consecutive games record of 989.