The Calgary Flames may have earned just two of a possible eight points on this road trip, but they finished it off with a victory in solid fashion, taking a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on an early Sunday evening. Chasing starting goalie Niklas Backstrom along the way, the Flames caught some good fortune in the goal department but were full marks for the win, regardless of how pucks went in.
An early powerplay for the Wild had them on the score board just 1:57 into this hockey game, with Cal Clutterbuck taking a pass down low and used some nice hands down low to beat Miikka Kiprusoff for his sixth of the season. It didn’t seem to phase the visitors, however, as Mark Giordano was good on his fourth of the year from a bad angle at 4:37. Just over two minutes later, Lee Stempniak put on another highlight reel maker, blowing by Marco Scandella before beating Backstrom five hole for his fifth and a 2-1 Flames lead. A turnover defensively had this thing even at 8:06, however, as Nick Johnson sniped his third on a pass from Kyle Brodziak and early on this game had four goals already. It had five just 39 seconds later on an NHL first, as T.J. Brodie’s first goal chased Backstrom thanks to a five hole marker and a 3-2 Calgary lead.
The second period was fairly pedestrian, which is kinda the way Calgary wanted it played, as Minnesota didn’t generate a whole lot even strength and were thwarted when they generated chances on their three powerplays. The game remained a one goal affair after two periods, with scoring chances slanted Minnesota’s way 12-9.
The Flames did a strong job in the final 20, not allowing much of anything from the Wild, as they generated just two scoring chances 5-on-5. With the lead, Calgary clogged up the neutral zone and managed to keep Minnesota to the perimiter, protecting in an effective manner and scoring a couple more times along the way. At 1:39, Alex Tanguay took advantage of a Josh Harding giveaway, sliding home his fourth of the season from the half boards for a 4-2 lead. Jarome Iginla did a nice job of getting to the front of the net later on, taking a Curtis Glencross pass and depositing his seventh at 8:26, getting us to our final score.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Because they made sure things went as they were supposed to. I say that because there’s no doubting Calgary is a better hockey team than Minnesota, regardless of what the records say. The Flames made sure they were the better team at even strength, which they were, outchancing the home side 12-9 along the way, even though they were leading for most of the hockey game. The fact the Flames imposed the game on Minnesota at even strength was why they won this hockey game.
I’ll go Jay Bouwmeester. Even though he was victimized on the first Wild goal, I thought Jay was involved offensively tonight and did a solid job in his own end, not letting much get by him. He lead all players with 24:55 of ice time including over six minutes shorthanded, and there’s been a few games this year where I’ve really liked what Bouwmeester has done.
Sum It Up
Hey, decent game, decent win, same old story let’s hope they build off it. The more worrying thing comes from the two third period injuries sustained by the Flames, as Alex Tanguay fell and went hard into the side boards about midway through the frame while Scott Hannan left with what looked like an ugly lower body injury late in the frame. Let’s hope neither are too serious.