CALGARY â€” David Backes gave his team some relief when he returned from a potential injury. He then gave them a lift just a few minutes later.
On his second shift upon returning from the Bruins medical room, Backes scored the game-winning goal as Boston defeated Calgary 5-2 on Wednesday to end the Flames’ 10-game winning streak.
“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 early in the night when got tied up with Flames defenceman Mark Giordano and slid into the corner boards.
But he returned seven minutes into the second period and 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,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. “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.
Scoring Boston’s first goal to tie it 1-1 in the first period and also adding an empty netter was David Pastrnak, who has 30 goals on the season.
The 20-year-old Czech says 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.
Brad Marchand, with his league-leading 36th goal, and Matt Beleskey also scored for Boston (38-26-6). The Bruins fourth straight win moves them to within three points of the second-place Ottawa Senators in the Atlantic Division.
Marchand has 26 goals in his last 29 games.
Alex Chiasson and Dougie Hamilton replied for Calgary (39-27-4). Third in the Pacific, the Flames are up one point 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 Flames captain Mark Giordano.
The hottest team in the NHL since the all-star break at 14-3-1, Glen Gulutzan says his team needs to get used to the opposition getting up to play them.
“You don’t get a ‘B’ game, you get an ‘A’ game and we got an ‘A’ game from Boston,” said Calgary’s coach. “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 over 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 (AHL) to be the back-up.
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 had 27 stops in falling to 18-14-1.
Notes: The two-goal deficit on Beleskey’s goal was the Flames first two-goal deficit since Feb. 13…. 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.
Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press