Swede's game coming Back

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

DETROIT Mike Babcock hadnt much of an idea who Mikael Backlund was prior to the game.

He certainly will have a better read now.

After putting his team through the morning skate in anticipation of facing the Calgary Flames, the Detroit Red Wings head coach was talking about Calgarys lines and Backlunds trio came up.

I dont really know the kid in the middle, Babcock said of the Flames rookie.

It looks like he has some skill.

Backlund showed how much, by scoring both goals for the Flames in their 4-2 loss.

I actually read that, the clubs third-line centre said.

I was actually thinking, hopefully, he would after.

Its been a slow start to Backlunds rookie season, but he netted his first goal of the season to open the scoring at the Joe Louis Arena Thursday.

He tallied a second time in the opening period to give the visitors a 2-1 edge.

I was happy to score two goals, but I hate to lose, Backlund said.

Still, there had to be some relief for the 21-year-old who was chosen in the first round of the 2007 draft.

Of course, he said. I only scored one goal last year in 23 games. Its fun to help the team and score. But

I havent focused on it much.

The focus was the path needed to score more goals.

Backlund has done his share of putting pucks on net 20 through six games now but was told in a meeting Wednesday with assistant coach Dave Lowry to drive to the net harder.

I like that. Its going to help me be a better player, he said of the tutelage.

If I dont have things to see I can get better, I cant get better. Its good to see those details.

I know I havent been good enough (in the first few games.) The last two games havent been bad and Ive been getting better and better.

Hopefully, I can build on this game.

Backlund, who fired a half-dozen shots on goal, was even rewarded with some powerplay time.

Its not the fact he scored. Its the fact his compete level was much higher, head coach Brent Sutter said.

Hes got skills, but its that competitive nature he has to bring all the time.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca


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