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Toffoli scores twice, Flames complete comeback in 5-4 OT win against Canucks

Calgary Flames' Tyler Toffoli (73) scores against Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Friday, March 31, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck Calgary Flames' Tyler Toffoli (73) scores against Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Friday, March 31, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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It was a Friday night comeback the Calgary Flames needed. 

After going down 2-0 to the Vancouver Canucks early in the second period Friday, the Flames rallied, forced overtime and collected a crucial 5-4 victory.

The result marked the first time all season that Calgary (35-26-15) has won after trailing to start the third period.

"I think it speaks volume to the character that we have in this room," said defenceman Troy Stecher, who put up a goal and an assist for the Flames.

"Tonight, it seemed like any time we scored, we took a step backwards. It's not something you want to do but at the end of the day, we find a way to get two points and stay in the (playoff) hunt.”

Tyler Toffoli ended the game 3:27 into overtime, collecting a pass from Mikael Backlund in the slot and firing a quick shot over Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko for his second goal of the night.

"It's about time we came back and won a game. So we needed it," Toffoli said. "And obviously feels good.”

Blake Coleman and Jonathan Huberdeau also had goals for Calgary in regulation. Backlund and MacKenzie Weegar chipped in with two helpers.

Jacob Markstrom had 16 saves for Calgary, who won a third straight game for the first time since Dec. 7.

The Flames remain two points out of a playoff position with five games left in the regular season.

“We were pretty resilient," said Calgary coach Darryl Sutter. "There was a lot of things that could have taken you out of the game right? But it actually helped us in some ways.”

Elias Pettersson, Conor Garland, Anthony Beauvillier and Aidan McDonough — with his first NHL goal — all found the back of the net for the Canucks (34-34-7).

It was a busy night in net for Demko, who stopped 36-of-41 shots.

“We battled. It’s tough," Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said of his team's performance. "They had six power plays. We couldn't handle their forecheck. I thought they were dumping a lot of pucks. And we tried to have a game plan, I thought a couple of guys didn't execute.”

The Flames forced extra time with a late power-play goal after Pettersson was called for high-sticking. 

Noah Hanifin sent a hard shot off the end boards from the point and the puck bounced to Huberdeau, who fired a rocket in past Demko from the bottom of the faceoff circle, tying the game at 4-4 at the 16:47 mark.

The Flames were 1-for-6 with the man advantage Friday and the Canucks went 1-for-2.

Calgary outshot the home side 15-6 across the second, but Vancouver took a one-goal lead into the locker-room.

The Canucks took a 3-2 lead when McDonough buried his first NHL goal midway through the second period. 

Sheldon Dries set up the strike, taking a backhanded shot from his knees at the side of the crease. Markstrom stopped the shot but couldn't contain the rebound and the puck popped out to McDonough, who fired a wrist shot in 12:12 into the frame.

"It was great," said McDonough, who celebrated the achievement on the ice with his childhood friend, Canucks defenceman Jack Rathbone. 

"Obviously, you dream about scoring that on the driveway or in the backyard your whole life. And to get one there was, it was pretty special.”

MILESTONE MOMENTS

Stecher, who hails from Richmond, B.C., registered his 100th regular-season NHL point.

"It's pretty cool, especially to do it here in front of some friends and family," he said. "It was a goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year. Just happy to achieve it.”

Toffoli hit a new career high in goals, surpassing the 31 he scored for the L.A. Kings in 2015-16.

Pettersson's goal extended his point streak to a career-high 14 games, with eight goals and 12 assists across the stretch.

HOCKEY PRIDE

The Canucks held their annual Pride night, featuring themed warm-up jerseys, special entertainment before and during the game, and video messages from people in the LGBTQ community. 

Vancouver forward Andrei Kuzmenko skipped warm-ups in order to avoid wearing the special uniforms, designed by a local artist. He's the latest NHL player to refuse to wear a Pride jersey this season.

HRONEK OUT

Tocchet said Friday that defenceman Filip Hronek is likely done for the season as he works his way back from a shoulder injury. 

"There's really no reason for him to come back," the Canucks coach said. "If this were a playoff game, he'd be in the game. But it's not a playoff game. … He's going to have a long time to get his shoulder perfect." 

The 25-year-old blue liner has one assist in four games for Vancouver since being acquired by the Canucks ahead of the NHL trade deadline in March. He didn't play for his new team until March 28 because of the shoulder injury. 

UP NEXT 

Flames: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. 

Canucks: Continue a five-game homestand Sunday against the L.A. Kings. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2023.

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