After grounding the Jets in Calgary, the Flames landed in Minnesota without TJ Brodie but with the chance to move back into a playoff spot, if they could pull off a win against the Wild. The game went from a sheer snoozefest to a nail-biter, as fans have come to expect on a game by game basis. Once again Calgary opened a two goal lead only to let it slip away. The good news? They were able to regain it and then hold on to preserve the two points and leapfrog two teams into eighth place in the West.
The first period left little to the imagination and was even less exciting. Everything the game had on Friday against Winnipeg was completely absent today. The crowd was literally so quiet that you could hear the players on the ice during the play. One of the keys to playing a successful road game is taking the home team’s fans out of it; that was not going to be a problem today, and the Flames were able to dominate the play, keeping the puck in Minnesota’s end for much of the period. The Flames out-chanced the Wild 7-3 and their persistence paid off and at the 9:31 mark; Jarome Iginla scored his 29th of the season. One more from the captain will mean scoring 30 or more goals for the 11th straight season. It was also the 513th of his career. The Wild went 0 for 1 on their one and only power-play of the game when Baertschi served a too many men call.
The second period had even less to report. Neither team scored or even took a penalty. Special teams would be of note for only reason in fact; Calgary was unable to draw a penalty the entire game, but they also only took the one. The only other PIM’s came from a fight between Guillaume Desbiens and Matt Kassian. Scoring chances were also tied at two apiece.
With no expectations after a low event second, it didn’t take too long for business to pick up in the third. 1:43 into the period, it was the moment that Flames fans were hoping for and couldn’t wait to see. Sven Baertschi scored his first NHL goal in just his second game. It was an impressive goal as well. Tipping the point shot from Derek Smith, Beartschi had the presence of mind to square himself to the net and pick up the rebound from Hackett; he made no mistake putting the puck half way up on the short side.
The two goal lead didn’t last long though, thanks to Erik Christensen. At 2:10 Erik got his first of the night with an unassisted wrist shot. Two minutes and twenty seconds later, he would get his second of the night. Nail-biter time!
Calgary would take the lead again at 10:17 with the help of Mr. Reliable. On a completely broken play and a fortunate bounce, Curtis Glencross was "Johnny on the Spot" for his 25th of the season. It also marks the 7th straight game for Glencross with a goal; he now has the longest streak in the NHL this season and is one game away from tying Gary Roberts and Kent Nilsson for the franchise record of 8 straight games. Glencross wasn’t done there as at 14:42, he combines with David Moss in setting up Olli Jokinen for his 21st of the season. The OMG line looked good again tonight as they completely dominated the Wild pretty much everytime they were on the ice.
Calgary would be out-chanced 5-7 in the third by the Wild; not a huge margine given that Minnesota was chasing the entire game. A late goal at 18:56 from Devon Setoguchi made it close but in the end, Calgary took the win with a dominant effort.
1. David Moss
2. Erik Christensen
3. Sven Baertschi
He may not have gotten a star, but Alex Tanguay was huge again tonight. He was all over the puck when it was near him and made just a beautiful play to set up Iggy on the first goal. It has been interesting to see Tanguay almost as an architect for the play when he’s on the ice. There seems to be good chemistry again with him and Iginla and it’s showing in both the goals Alex is scoring as well as being key in the production of the captain.
It was another good game from Matt Stajan as well. He has one play in the first where he almost made it 2-0, and the play was all Stajan. Good solid effort on the top line and you can see that his confidence has grown by leaps and bounds. His timing couldn’t be better either with the Flames still being without Mike Cammalleri.
Sven didn’t play a lot towards the end of the game and that shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone. Protecting a two goal lead doesn’t usually include an offensive rookie in just his second game. When he was on the ice, he looked more comfortable than he did against the Jets… a little more in control of his excitement. Still had the flashes of offense and the best part was obviously the goal.
The score was really closer than the game was. Calgary controlled most of the play, but there were a couple of questionable goals by Minnesota. Desperate teams take them where they can get them though and even though Calgary falls into this category, there would be no excuse to lose to the Wild.
The same logic should apply to the Flames next game on Tuesday against the Sharks. San Jose is obviously the more talented team, but they are struggling and now find themselves behind the Flames in the standings. Calgary needs to take advantage of that since the Sharks also have 2 games in hand on the Flames.
Gametime is 7:30 MST (Fan 960 and TSN)