It’s funny how perception changes…you could look at Calgary’s five game road trip and say they lost four of five games, or you could look more recently and see two wins in three games. Regardless, the Flames took a 3-0 win Monday night over the Minnesota Wild as Miikka Kiprusoff made 32 saves to post his 37th career shutout.
Overall, it was a pretty lackluster opening twenty minutes, as neither team really did much…Kent had scoring chances 7-5 in favor of the Wild and they did generate a few quality ones, but for the most part, not a whole lot happened and things were scoreless after one.
The second period was different, as the Flames really came to play and things went the opposite way for the Wild, as the visitors really dropped off. Calgary’s opening ten minutes were very strong and they scored twice as a result, starting at 3:08 when Jarome Iginla fed Jay Bouwmeester on a nice backhand pass; JBo potted his third of the season to make it 1-0. Iginla would be in on it again, this time the recipient of an Alex Tanguay pass at the side of the net; Iginla would score his tenth 16 seconds after the opening tally and the Flames would carry a two goal lead into the third period. Minnesota would hammer out a few more chances before the second period would end, but were unable to beat Kiprusoff, who was very strong.
It was only the seventh time time this season the Flames would carry a lead into the final period, and they’d close this one out. Shots would finish 13-10 in favor of the Wild, but impressively, Calgary would only allow seven chances against. It’s impressive, as Kent points out, because Minnesota was chasing and the Flames did a nice job of protecting. Niklas Hagman would ice this thing at 18:31 with his seventh on the powerplay to take us to our final score.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Hey, they converted when they needed to. Miikka Kiprusoff did a nice job making a few huge saves on some Minnesota ten bell chances, but I don’t believe he stole this game or anything like that. Overall, the Flames were a bit better, especially after scoring those two goals in 16 seconds; from then on, the Wild didn’t have much sustained, even with a few quality chances. Calgary scored twice in the second, protected well in the third and ice this game late…kind of a normal win. They could use a few more of those variety of wins.
I really liked the captain tonight. 6-1 was the chance count when he was on the ice at even strength, and the top line overall had some really strong spans. From the second period on, I felt Iginla was particularly dominant, seemingly creating things on every 5-on-5 shift. He’s been very good the last eight games or so, and once again was a driving force in this game.
Sum It Up
Was it dominant? Nope. Did it do the trick? It sure did…and hey, that’s all that matters. The Flames beat a team in front of them in the standings, and a team they’re going to need to beat overall; quite frankly, it’s a team they should beat. Calgary plays Minnesota three more times in the next ten games.