Penguins slip past Flames 2-1

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 12, 2014 at 1:36 am •  Published: January 12, 2014

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Two goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins proved to be plenty of offense to beat the Calgary Flames.

Chris Kunitz and Matt Niskanen scored, Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves, and the Penguins beat the Flames 2-1 on Saturday night — Calgary's team record sixth consecutive regulation loss at home.

"It was just nice to have a close, low scoring game," said Fleury (26-10-1). "It felt nice. The last few games were a little crazy so it's definitely nice and it was a good battle."

Fleury appeared to be on his way to becoming the sixth goalie in eight games to shut out the Flames, but Mikael Backlund cut into Calgary's 2-0 deficit with a goal at 11:29 of the third period.

"It's a relief. It's hard when you chase and chase and you get scoring chances and the puck doesn't go in," Backlund said. "It gets in your head a little bit. It shouldn't, but it's natural.

"But as soon as you score one, everybody settles down a little bit and you feel better."

Ending a goalless stretch at home at a team record 196 minutes, 59 seconds, Backlund outbattled Kris Letang for the puck and scored with a slap shot from 40 feet.

"It was nice to get a goal since we haven't had too many at home here lately, but we're very disappointed that we didn't win the game," Backlund said.

The Penguins earned five of six points on their three-game road trip through Western Canada. They begin a three-game homestand Wednesday against Washington.

"The Western Canada swing, it's always a hype-up for these games," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. "With Sidney (Crosby) in the building, it seems like we get the best from other teams."

Calgary will next play at Carolina on Monday when the Flames begin a two-game trip that includes a stop in Nashville on Tuesday.

They hope to find some more offense on the road.

"On the mental side, it's good but it's another loss," said Flames coach Bob Hartley, relieved that his team scored but not pleased with the result. "But I can't fault the effort. Tonight was by far one of our best games lately."

Backlund's goal got the Flames back in it, but that was all they could muster.

Pittsburgh then held on, something the Penguins couldn't do Friday during a loss at Edmonton when they blew a third-period lead and lost in overtime.

"After a disappointing third period for us last night, for us it was a much better team game," Niskanen said. "We got the 2-0 lead, same situation we were in last night, and that's something we want to get better at, playing with the lead."

Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead at 16:34 of the first period on a shot from Kunitz that beat Reto Berra over his shoulder and just under the crossbar.

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