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Rookie leads Flames' wild win

at Blue Jackets 0 1 3 4
Wild 1 1 0 2
CALGARY — Rookie center Mikael Backlund had a pair of key second-period assists Friday to lead the Flames to a 4-3 victory over the struggling Sharks.

Backlund set up goals two minutes apart by Nigel Dawes and Eric Nystrom as Calgary, fighting for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, opened up a 4-1 lead. But it was his gaffe that put San Jose on the comeback trail in a wild third period.

While attempting to shovel the puck against Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff for a stoppage, Backlund accidentally slid the puck under him and across the crease, where it was whacked into an empty net by Sharks center Manny Malhotra.

With Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov pulled for an extra skater, defenseman Dan Boyle scored at 18:09 to set up the dramatic finish.

Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow also scored for Calgary (36-26-9), which has won six of eight. The Flames entered the night one point behind the Red Wings for the eighth playoff spot. Detroit lost to the Oilers 3-2 in a shootout to gain one point and stay in eighth with a game in hand over Calgary.

Dany Heatley added his 37th goal of the season for the Sharks, who have lost four in a row in regulation and have seen their lead atop the Pacific Division cut to three points by the Coyotes.

The Sharks are second in the West, behind Chicago. Both have 96 points, but the Blackhawks have a game in hand.

Canucks: Center Ryan Kesler signed a six-year, $30 million contract extension good through the 2015-16 season. In his sixth season with the Canucks, Kesler, 25, has set a career high with 66 points in 71 games. Kesler, a member of the U.S. silver-medal-winning Olympic team, has exceeded the 59 points he recorded last season, when he was a finalist for the Selke Trophy, which goes to the top defensive forward.

Flyers: Goalie Michael Leighton was scheduled to see a foot-ankle specialist in Philadelphia, hoping for a better prognosis for his injured left ankle than the one he got Thursday after an MRI exam. Leighton was told he would miss eight to 10 weeks with a severe high-ankle sprain suffered in Nashville on Tuesday. That time frame means Leighton wouldn't be able to return until between May 15 and June 1, meaning he would miss at least two rounds of the playoffs, assuming the Flyers get out of Round 1.

at Flames 2 2 0 4
Sharks 0 1 2 3

First Period1, Calgary, Iginla 32 (Stajan, Giordano), 3:24. 2, Calgary, Langkow 14 (Hagman), 8:52. PenaltiesHuskins, SJ (holding), 1:18; Langkow, Cal (tripping), 11:41; Bourque, Cal (boarding), 14:22.

Second Period3, San Jose, Heatley 37 (Thornton, Marleau), 2:41. 4, Calgary, Dawes 11 (Backlund, Mayers), 9:04. 5, Calgary, Nystrom 9 (Backlund, Mayers), 11:03. PenaltiesStaubitz, SJ (holding), 5:43; Giordano, Cal (holding), 12:18; Clowe, SJ, major (fighting), 19:56; Iginla, Cal, major (fighting), 19:56.

Third Period6, San Jose, Malhotra 12, 12:01. 7, San Jose, Boyle 13 (Couture, Heatley), 18:09. PenaltiesClowe, SJ (roughing), 12:47. Shots on GoalSan Jose 14-8-6—28. Calgary 6-8-10—24. Power-play opportunitiesSan Jose 0 of 3; Calgary 0 of 3. GoaliesSan Jose, Nabokov 37-14-9 (24 shots-20 saves). Calgary, Kiprusoff 31-22-9 (28-25). A19,289 (19,289).

at Blue Jackets 0 1 3 4
Wild 1 1 0 2

First Period1, Minnesota, Koivu 20 (Miettinen), 10:28. PenaltiesMethot, Clm (elbowing), :48; Kobasew, Min (tripping), 3:33; Havlat, Min (goaltender interference), 13:56; Paetsch, Clm (holding), 18:11; Zidlicky, Min (tripping), 19:24.

Second Period2, Minnesota, Kobasew 6 (Wellman, Barker), 2:42. 3, Columbus, Huselius 20 (Umberger, Boll), 13:23. PenaltiesSheppard, Min (high-sticking), 6:44; Paetsch, Clm (hooking), 9:22; Havlat, Min (hooking), 10:55.

Third Period4, Columbus, Russell 7 (Huselius, Stralman), 11:02. 5, Columbus, Nash 29 (Voracek), 11:29. 6, Columbus, Nash 30 (Vermette), 19:22. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalMinnesota 9-6-5—20. Columbus 11-12-9—32. Power-play opportunitiesMinnesota 0 of 3; Columbus 0 of 5. GoaliesMinnesota, Harding 8-11-0 (32 shots-28 saves). Columbus, Garon 12-9-4 (20-18). A16,419 (18,144).

Rookie leads Flames' wild win 03/19/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 20, 2010 2:06am]

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