Brent Sutter’s netminder choice on Sunday afternoon shed some light on Darryl Sutter’s trade-deadline activity earlier this week.
There is growing speculation that Miikka Kirusoff has admitted to the club that he’s pooped after yet another busy National Hockey League season as well as his intense Olympic assignment for bronze-winning Finland, which helps partially explains why veteran Vesa Toskala became a Flame on Wednesday and why he was making his Calgary debut in an important stretch-run game in something other than a back-to-back situation Sunday in St. Paul, Minn.
The rusty Toskala boxed the puck at times against Minny but he he was solid enough to help the Flames knock off the Wild 5-2. It was Calgary’s first victory in four tries against Minnesota this season.
The Flames provided their new netminder with the hockey equivalent of a couple of sedative pills by scoring twice in the contest’s first three minutes.
First, Rene Bourque scored his 19th goal of the season just 19 seconds after the opening faceoff. Then it was Mark Giordano picking an open corner of the net to make it two-zip for the guests.
That early bulge and some wayward shooting by the Wildmen allowed Toskala to get his bearings in his first game action since January. The ex-Shark made 26 stops to pick up his first win since he blanked Philadelphia on Jan. 14 as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Thanks to a couple of goals from Guillaume Latendresse, the Wild hung around all day but could never completely overcome the early deficit.
Wild-killer Jarome Iginla, with a hat trick, and Mark Giordano also scored for the Flames, who win back-to-back games for only the second time since Jan. 5. Iginla’s outburst gives him his ninth straight 30-goal season.
Steve Staios picked up his first assist as a Flame as it was his smart shot/pass that was redirected by Bourque for the ice-breaking goal. Later, he nearly scored a goal on the business end of a two-on-one rush with Iginla. On the flip side, he (and partner Jay Bouwmeester) has been on the ice for all three of the even-strength goals Calgary has given up in the past two games.
Now comes to the question: Who’s crankier about the questionable disallowed Patrick Kane goal earlier in the day that turned the tide of a Chicago-Detroit match in favour of the Red Wings, the club Calgary is chasing for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West — Blackhawks fans or Flames fans?
- Jarome Iginla
- Rene Bourque
- Brent Burns
With Derek Boogaard getting an unpaid holiday courtesy of the Colin Campbell Travel Agency, all was quiet in the fisticuffs department Sunday.
The Big Save
Vesa Toskala did an excellent job going post to post during a second-period Wild power play to get a pad on Minnesota defenceman Marek Zidlicky’s shot. Zidlicky, who did Toskala a favour by keeping the original shot low, was also foiled on the rebound.
The Big Hit
Big, maybe, but not so smart. Minnesota winger Owen Nolan’s brain-cramp move to knock down Niklas Hagman down in the neutral zone gave the Flames a two-man advantage in the third period and permitted Jarome Iginla to fire an insurance goal.
What It Means
For the second time over the extended weekend, the Flames (32-24-9) needed a victory to remain close behind Detroit after a Red Wings win earlier in the day. For the second time, they got it.
A crucial scrap at the Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday evening as the ninth-place Flames visit Darren Helm the eighth-place Red Wings.