It seemed the Calgary Flames, at the start of the month, couldn’t buy a goal or a win.
How things have turned. Mikael Backlund scored his second of the evening to give the Flames a 4-3 overtime win over the visiting Minnesota Wild on Saturday. Backlund put on display his baseball skills, batting the puck out of mid-air and into the open net.
And suddenly, the Flames, fighting it out with the Edmonton Oilers at the bottom of the Pacific Division, have won five consecutive games. You read that correctly.
The Flames were shutout in three of their first four games to begin the month of January, and twice before that in December following the holiday break. It wasn’t all good for the Flames on this night. Goalie Karri Ramo left the game midway through the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return.
The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.
The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.
Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.
The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.
He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.
The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.
The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.
The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.
The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.
Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.
The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.
Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.
Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.
The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.
Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.
Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.