Flames' Patrick Sieloff nets winner in his 1st NHL game
Calgary netminder Backstrom makes 35 saves against former team
Patrick Sieloff scored the go-ahead goal in his first NHL game and Niklas Backstrom made 35 saves against his former team, leading the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
Sieloff, summoned from the AHL by the Flames for their meaningless season finale, scored with 5:54 remaining. That was just 31 seconds after Brandon Bollig's goal tied the game against backup Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper.
Zac Dalpe scored in the second period for the Wild (38-33-11), who stumbled into the post-season with their fifth consecutive loss. They have the fewest standings points (87) by a playoff qualifier since the shootout was added in 2005.
Backstrom, tending the net for perhaps the last time in the NHL, was named the first star of the game. He skated back out to acknowledge the applauding crowd, waving and patting his heart.
Backstrom was traded to Calgary last month for right wing David Jones. The 38-year-old goaltender is Minnesota's franchise leader in starts, wins and shutouts.
Backstrom totalled only 40 games over the previous two seasons for the Wild because of injuries and didn't play at all as the No. 3 goalie in 2015-16 until the Flames gave him some time over the last three weeks. The Wild, who beat Backstrom and the Flames 6-2 here on March 24, put 24 shots on target in the first 28 minutes.
Dalpe's blind throw-it-on-the-net-and-see-what-happens backhander slipped past Backstrom for his first goal with the Wild. Kuemper coughed up the lead after Devan Dubnyk was pulled as promised halfway through the second period to rest.
The Wild were scoreless on five power plays and went 0 for 16 over the last six games. They were outshot 14-5 in the third period.
After ending a five-year absence from the playoffs last season, the Flames fell backward and were eliminated weeks ago from contention. They summoned three players from the AHL for their NHL debut, sending forward Turner Elson and defencemen Oliver Kylington and Sieloff onto the ice in the starting lineup. The 18-year-old Kylington was a second-round draft pick by the Flames in 2015 from Sweden.
Sieloff scored on a bad bounce when he chipped the puck toward the net from the wing and it ricocheted over Kuemper's glove into the corner of the net.