Bruins win 5-2 to end Flames’ 10-game winning streak
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) David Backes gave the Bruins a sigh of relief when he returned to the ice. Then he gave them a lift just a few minutes later.
On his second shift back from the medical room, Backes scored the go-ahead goal to help Boston stop Calgary’s 10-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory Wednesday night.
”It’s maybe scary at the time, but you get back with the training staff and they rub it and kiss it and make it feel better and you’re able to return to the game,” said Backes, who appeared to hurt his knee when he got tied up with Flames defenseman Mark Giordano and slid into the corner boards.
Backes returned seven minutes into the second period. At 11:03, he took a pass from David Krejci on a 3-on-2 and whipped a wrist shot over the glove of Chad Johnson.
”It’s going to take a little more than that to keep him out,” Bruins interim coach Bruce Cassidy said. ”He got some treatment in between periods and told us he was going to give it a try and it worked out well for us.
”He scored a big goal for us and played some key shifts for us down the stretch.”
Cassidy improved to 12-3-0 since taking over for the fired Claude Julien.
David Pastrnak scored twice for Boston, including an empty-netter, to reach 30 goals this season. The 20-year-old Czech said playing with the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Krejci sure helps.
”It’s just great and easy for me to play with those kind of players,” Pastrnak said.
Marchand, with his NHL-leading 36th goal, and Matt Beleskey also scored for the Bruins. Their fourth straight win moved them within three points of second-place Ottawa in the Atlantic Division.
Marchand has 26 goals in his last 29 games. He is also tied with Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for tops in the league with 76 points.
Alex Chiasson and Dougie Hamilton scored for Calgary. Third in the Pacific Division, the Flames are one point up on the Edmonton Oilers, who hold a game in hand.
”It was a great streak. We’ve got to regroup, though, not let this one get us down too much,” said Giordano, the Calgary captain.
The Flames have been the hottest team in the NHL since the All-Star break at 14-3-1, and coach Glen Gulutzan said his players need to get used to the opposition getting up to face them.
”You don’t get a `B’ game, you get an `A’ game and we got an `A’ game from Boston,” Gulutzan said. ”I give them credit. They were just better than us.”
One of the best players during Calgary’s franchise record-tying win streak had been goaltender Brian Elliott. He had nine of the victories and during that span had a 1.74 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage.
However, Elliott woke up with the flu Wednesday morning and was told to stay home. Johnson got the start instead, with Jon Gillies called up from Stockton of the AHL to be the backup.
Elliott’s absence was felt, with Johnson looking shaky on the first two goals.
”I didn’t feel very good, to be honest. It was tough. Some weird bounces, some bad goals,” said Johnson, who last played on Feb. 24. ”I haven’t played a lot and when you come in there, you don’t want to be the guy to be in the net when (the streak) ends.”
Anton Khudobin finished with 21 saves to win his fourth straight decision and even his record at 5-5-1.
Johnson made 27 stops in falling to 18-14-1.
NOTES: Boston welcomed back C Ryan Spooner (concussion) after missing three games. … Calgary C Matt Stajan had an assist to give him 400 career points. … Flames D Michael Stone (upper body) has missed three games, but he’s getting closer to a return. He was a regular participant at Wednesday’s morning skate. … Beleskey’s goal saddled the Flames with their first two-goal deficit since Feb. 13
Bruins: At the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
Flames: Host the Dallas Stars on Friday night.