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Toffoli The Hero (Again) As Flames Celebrate First Comeback Win Of Season

Tyler Toffoli scores second of the night as Calgary Flames complete their first third-period comeback of the year in 5-4 overtime win over the Vancouver Canuck.



The Calgary Flames fanbase should have a meme competition to describe the emotional turmoil a season like this one inflicts on those who live and die by every outcome. 

You might get the Brokeback Mountain “I can’t quit you” quote. 

Maybe something from Dumb and Dumber — “Just when I think you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself!”

Perhaps The Godfather is more up your alley. “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

But the best description has come from within the Calgary Flames locker-room. 

Defenceman Chris Tanev was the first to use it. Many have echoed it since. 

The latest was Jonathan Huberdeau on Thursday.

“I think everybody is behind us. It’s been a kind of rollercoaster kind of year,” Huberdeau said while talking about the team’s belief it can still make the NHL playoffs with seven games remaining. “If we finish and we’re in the playoffs, that’s all that matters.”

It’s not about the ride, it’s the destination. 

Or something like that. 

The thing about rollercoasters is you either get off feeling a rush of excitement from the adrenalin or running for a garbage can because you got motion sickness. There’s no middle ground. 

It’s exuberant success or miserable failure. 

On Friday night in Vancouver, it was another thrill ride. And it ended with a first — a 5-4 overtime win over the Canucks that saw the Calgary Flames complete a third-period comeback for the first time this season. 

It also ended with something that hasn’t happened in so long it feels like another first. The Flames won a third straight game for the first time since early December. For just the third time this season. 

It keeps their NHL playoff hopes alive and their deficit stagnant at two points (plus a third to avoid losing the tiebreaker) after the Winnipeg Jets won earlier in the evening. 

“We knew we needed the two points and we found a way,” said Tyler Toffoli, who scored the overtime winner — his second goal of the night — to get that all-important second point to keep pace. 

“It’s about time we came back and won a game. We needed it. Obviously, it feels good.”

A lot of good things happened despite the fact they allowed four goals against, with Conor Garland picking Mikael Backlund’s pocket to start the scoring on a breakaway in the first period, Elias Pettersson netting his 36th less than a minute into the second, and Aidan McDonagh and Anthony Beauvilier giving the Canucks a 4-3 edge before the second intermission. 

Toffoli and Blake Coleman scored to tie the game at two, and Troy Stecher scored to make it 3-3 as the Flames came back three times on the night. 

It was Jonathan Huberdeau’s bad-angle goal with less than three-and-a-half minutes in regulation that sent the game to OT. That came after he missed on a penalty shot earlier. 

“It wasn’t easy. I wanted to score that one,” Huberdeau said. “Stuck with it and huge goal at the end on the powerplay, much needed, to send it to overtime. 

“Toff did the rest.”

Huberdeau said the team didn’t panic. Tofolli said goaltender Jacob Markstrom “saved his ass” before the winner, which was set up perfectly by Backlund. 

Everything they needed. Now they need to do it all over again against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday at the Saddledome.