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Kadri’s OT goal lifts Flames past Bruins 3-2 for 2nd-straight win

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Centring two rookies has been a new role for Nazem Kadri, but he’s thriving in it.

Kadri scored 3:56 into overtime and had an assist on Thursday night to lead the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. Kadri kept the puck on a 3-on-1 and fired a low shot into the far corner on Linus Ullmark just seconds after Jakob Markstrom stopped a David Pastrnak shot on the other end.

“I was exhausted by the end of that one, just an absolute track meet,” Kadri said. “Nice to come out on the proper side of that one. Marky made some great saves for us. Gave us the opportunity to go cash in.”

Calgary Flames’ Nazem Kadri, right, celebrates his game-winning goal against the Boston Bruins with MacKenzie Weegar during overtime NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal

The 33-year-old’s line with 24-year-old Martin Pospisil, who also scored, and 22-year-old Connor Zary has been Calgary’s best line since being placed together in mid-November.

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“I’ve definitely never played with so many rookies in my whole career,” Kadri said. “It’s nice to find some guys you can build some chemistry with. They’re character guys, always willing to learn and willing to get better and push themselves. And that’s motivating for me too.”

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Kadri leads the Flames with 50 points (20 goals, 30 assists), just six shy of his production last year, his first with Calgary.

“He’s one of those guys that hates to lose more than he likes to win,” said Flames coach Ryan Huska. “So that’s why I think you see him elevate his play.”

Sharing the spotlight was Markstrom, who made numerous clutch stops over the final two periods and overtime. Markstrom’s 211th career win moves him past Tommy Salo into second place for most wins by a Swedish-born goaltender, with Henrik Lundqvist atop the list at 459.

“He’s the backbone,” said Kadri. “That’s what all great teams have, they have a guy in the crease that can make some timely saves and to win a championship, to win playoff games, to win playoff series, you need timely saves and you need timely goals and we saw both those tonight.”

Since returning from a broken finger on Dec. 18, Markstrom has gone 13-7-0 with a .928 save percentage.

“He’s our best player and he bails us out,” said Flames defenceman Oliver Kylington, who scored his second goal in as many games. “You’re not going to win many games in the league if you don’t have a goalie like that.”

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Calgary (27-25-5) swept the season series against the NHL-leading Bruins, also having beaten them 4-1 in Boston on Feb. 6.

“When everybody is at the top of their game, we’re really good,” said Markstrom, who finished with 32 saves.

Charlie Coyle scored both goals for Boston (34-12-12), which extended its road point streak to 11 games (7-0-4). Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy each had their five-game point streaks snapped.

“We had chances to end the game. That’s hockey. It’s an inch or two there and it’s a different story and we’re feeling great about our game,” said Coyle.

Ullmark stopped 27 shots.

“We didn’t come out the way we wanted to,” he said. “We knew what needed to be done to be successful out there and we showed that in the second and the third and we battled back and stuck with it and got a point out of it.”

Trailing 2-1 entering the third, it took the Bruins just 2:33 to tie it. Coyle swooped in alone on Markstrom and scored on a backhand-to-forehand move.

Pelletier nears return

Flames rookie left-winger Jakob Pelletier (shoulder) returned to practice on Thursday, having missed the past four games. He had only been back for four games when he got hurt a second time. He missed the first half of the season after a pre-season shoulder injury required surgery.

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