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Virtanen evaluates OT winner as Canucks rally over Flames in preseason



CALGARIA – It was a triumphant return to goal for Canucks goalie Richard Bachman.

The 32-year-old has been solid in his first game in almost nine months after his Achilles tendon was passed by a skater in December, saving 36 behind Vancouver in a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames.

Vancouver was 30-7 behind the clock after two periods, but was only 2-0.

Mitch Eliot's goal made it 2-1 five minutes into the third and Jake Virtanen evened it at 15:41, firing his wrist past Cam Talbot. Virtanen won it 1:32 in overtime, beating Talbot again, this time two to one.

"He just kept his head on the whole game. He kept us in it," Virtanen said of Bachman. "You never want to leave your goalie hanging in the attempt, but somehow we did. But I played with (Bachman) in Utica (AHL) before and you played against him. You know what you get from him. He's a small goalie, but he's making his (butt) moves. "

Bachman's injury to end the season happened on December 21st. His operation was on Christmas Eve. Six months of strenuous rehabilitation ensued.

"I owe a lot of credit to my wife," Bachman said. "It just keeps me healthy for the first few months, especially when I was in the walker. I have two young children (ages 2 and 4) and they try to play and I can't even put my foot on the ground."

A long way back made the victory much more satisfying, he said.

"That's why we play," Bachman said. "Whether it's preseason, summer hockey, getting wins out there, that's the best feeling – so it's good to be back."

With 48 games on his NHL resume coming with the Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars, Bachman said training camp is different for the veteran.

"My first goal was just to play at a high level and see how it feels," Bachman said. "I want to prove that I still play at this level in the NHL, but I also want to help these kids get to the end. I've been around, I've seen a lot of different situations, up, down, in a lot of different cities, just trying to get those guys adapt a little faster. "

While Bachman shone at one end, there were mixed results at the other end.

David Rittich started and faced only four hits in his 32 and over minutes of action. Cam Talbot arrived with relief and scored three hits on nine shots in his Flames debut.

Talbot shook the first two goals.

Eliot was the slap that ran through his pads, and Virtanen's first shot beat him from a short angle from a sharp angle.

It was one of two split squad matches between Pacific Division rivals Monday. The two sides also met in Victoria, B.C., where Calgary won 4-3.

Calgary led 2-0 at 3:02 of the second when Sam Bennett scored, stole the puck and set up Frolik.

Bennett skated on a vacant second-line spot that usually belongs to unsigned free agent Matthew Tkachuk, who still remains out.

"I thought that line had some good moves. (Bennett) is a guy who can go up and down the line, play either on the wing and boast a lot of different types of players," Flames coach Bill Peters said. "I thought there would certainly be good times tonight."


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