The Calgary Flames victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins was a rollercoaster for Mikael Backlund, who ended up scoring the shootout winner. He also watched the game-tying goal from the penalty box late in regulation. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins haven’t worked too hard to move Jake DeBrusk, but that’s about to change as the young forward has requested a trade out of Boston. The San Jose Sharks already put Evander Kane on the NHL trade market, but his new agent is getting involved and calling teams to speed along the process. And the folks at Sportsnet are circling Montreal Canadiens GM candidates.
For a guy not getting rewarded much despite the important role he plays on the team, Backlund’s first shootout goal of his 13-year NHL career was a big one. Not only did it clinch a 2-1 victory for the Flames, it allowed Backlund to forget that his penalty late in the third period helped the Pens force extra time in the first place.
“Stupid penalty. My emotions got the best of me there in front of the net. It was tough to go to the box when we’re up one late in the game,” Backlund said. “And then when they score right away, it’s hard. When I got the chance, I was excited to get a chance to redeem myself and it felt really good.”
The veteran centre was one of the team’s best in the three-on-three overtime. He also helped shut down Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel before those two connected while Backlund was in the box. But the shootout was moving toward the middle of the lineup when he got the shoulder tap.
“I wasn’t expecting to get picked early,” he said. “When I heard my name, I got excited. I just checked a little bit before where (Jarry’s) been letting goals in. I tried the move in practice and I scored on Marky, so I figured if I scored on Marky I could do it on this guy, too.”
Backlund’s release is pretty deceptive. He frequently makes quick moves at high speed to change the angle of his shot. Frankly, his previous shootout goose egg is a bit surprising.
“Felt great, though. Home ice, too. Enjoyed the moment. I was just really hoping Marky would save it to finish it off.”
NHL Trade Chatter
Sportsnet: Agent Dan Milstein began chumming the waters and stirring the pot on Monday. Evander Kane will report to the AHL, but Milstein is working the phones to spark a trade.
NBC: Jake DeBrusk’s agent also confirmed he wants out of Boston. He’ll stay with the team until a trade is complete — cue the thousands of NHL trade rumours for DeBrusk. He’s an Alberta guy, so don’t be surprised to see some chatter about him and the Calgary Flames. There could be a fit if the price is right, but if DeBrusk thinks he has it hard in Boston … introducing Flames head coach Darryl Sutter.
Sportsnet Video: Who are the initial candidates for the Montreal Canadiens GM job?
NHL News, National Hockey Now
Pittsburgh: A view from the other side via NHN guru Dan Kingerski. Tristan Jarry robbed the Calgary Flames and saved a point for the Penguins in a game they had no business taking to the shootout.
Boston: Brad Marchand took a shot at Canada before the NHL suspended him three games for a slew foot, blaming Canadian fans who “make it miserable” for their teams.
Washington: Alex Ovechkin doesn’t care what you think. Ovechkin and the Capitals are rising above injuries and “the bullshit talk.”
Colorado: Sidney Crosby’s buddy and Tim Horton’s coworker Nathan MacKinnon returned to practice on Monday, and it was a big deal.
And, finally, for a feel-good story around a former Calgary Flames star, read about Dougie Hamilton’s special Hockey Fights Cancer stick. But grab some tissue.