98Mike Smith
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

Post-Game: Wild spoil the Iginla party

Prior to Saturday night’s game, the Calgary Flames honoured their greatest player. Unfortunately, they couldn’t keep the party going. The Flames dropped a close 4-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild before a jam-packed Scotiabank Saddledome crowd.

The Rundown

Despite sitting through a lengthy ceremony prior to puck drop, the Flames had a ton of energy early on. They couldn’t bury their chances, though, and the Wild did. Off an icing, the Flames won the defensive zone draw but TJ Brodie was muscled off the puck by Jason Zucker, who fed Eric Staal in the slot for a quick shot and a 1-0 Minnesota lead.

Austin Czarnik seemingly tied the game up midway through the first, jamming in a loose puck off an initial scoring chance from Sam Bennett. But the Wild challenged on the basis of goaltender interference and it was judged that Bennett’s contact with Devan Dubnyk impeded him so the Wild maintained their lead.

Shots were 14-5 Flames in the opening period, while scoring chances were 13-5 Flames.

After the Flames had a fruitless power play to open the second period, they handed the Wild an extended advantage after Garnet Hathaway was given a match penalty for smashing Luke Kunin’s face into the top of the Wild bench while avoiding a hit.

The Wild generated precisely one shot on the ensuing PP, which was negated when the Flames drew a penalty. The home side received a 23-second PP after Hathaway’s major expired, and Johnny Gaudreau found Sean Monahan at the top of the crease for a quick pass and tap-in to even the score at 1-1.

Shots were 14-7 Flames and chances 9-6 Flames in the second period.

The Wild took a lead early in the third period. Mike Smith was caught behind the net playing the puck. The Wild grabbed the loose puck, Smith was seemingly blocked in behind the net by Noah Hanifin, and after a scramble out front Matt Read poked the puck into the wide-open net to make it 2-1 for the visitors. It was on the first registered Minnesota shot of the period.

The Flames pressed, but Minnesota struck again. Rasmus Andersson whiffed on a puck at the point, which allowed Jordan Greenway to grab it and go into the Flames zone on a two-on-one. Bennett rushed back to break up the odd-man rush, but Ryan Suter snuck in as the trailer and beat Smith with a wrist shot to give the Wild a 3-1 lead.

But the Flames got one back with five minutes left in regulation. Travis Hamonic fired a shot at the net that found its way through traffic and just beat Dubnyk inside the far post to cut the Wild lead to 3-2.

That’s as close as the Flames got, though, as Ryan Donato put one between Smith’s wickets with a quick wrist shot late in the third to give the visitors a 4-2 edge. The Flames challenged on the basis of off-sides, but the challenge failed.

Why the Flames Lost

To be blunt: Minnesota’s goalie was better than Calgary’s. Dubnyk was busier and faced scarier chances, and Smith made more mistakes than his opposite number.

It’s a shame, though, as the Flames carried the balance of play for much of the game. They just couldn’t translate enough of that offensive zone time into goals.

Red Warrior

Bennett was superb in this game. He was engaged, physical and dangerous around the net. He had a chance lead to a disallowed goal and had another chance go off the post. If he had any luck, he would’ve had a couple goals.

The Turning Point

Smith’s puck-handling gaffe, and the ensuing goal, really sucked the air out of the building and out of the Flames’ sails. They had chances after that, but couldn’t get enough of them past Dubnyk to even things up.

The Numbers

(Percentage stats are 5-on-5, data via Natural Stat Trick)

Player Corsi
Gaudreau 77.1 80.0 1.800
Monahan 76.5 80.0 2.315
Lindholm 71.4 80.0 0.770
Giordano 71.4 70.6 1.625
Jankowski 70.4 66.7 0.520
Frolik 70.0 60.0 0.685
Brodie 68.8 75.0 0.950
Czarnik 66.7 70.0 0.375
Andersson 64.3 80.0 0.550
Tkachuk 60.6 66.7 0.650
Hanifin 60.0 42.9 0.875
Hamonic 59.5 37.5 1.275
Fantenberg 59.3 80.0 0.350
Bennett 55.6 75.0 -0.075
Backlund 51.9 66.7 0.590
Mangiapane 46.7 33.3 0.075
Ryan 42.9 25.0 0.135
Hathaway 22.2 0.0 -0.400
Smith -1.100

This and That

Monahan’s second period goal was his 30th of the season. He’s scored 30+ goals on three different occasions in his career.

Up Next

The Flames (41-17-7) are off tomorrow, then host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    we lost on Iggy day 🙁

    Sean need to learn to cover better ..
    Smith not getting resign so that good news ??
    Draft day going to be fun i see some big trades coming…


  • The Sultan

    I’m having a hard time deciding tonight whether Smith’s performance tonight was “absolute garbage” or “completely pathetic”.

    Embarrassing, and shameful performance for Iggy, his family, and the world.

  • THE WW Bandwagon

    Was there ever any doubt? Not for me.
    As soon as I opened up the box score and saw 1-1 I knew not even Iggy night can awaken the now dead and buried offense.
    Mike Smith is a cock block. He single handedly ruined this night with his pathetic tending.
    I’m NOT happy!

    This team obviously did not listen to their GM and obviously were not inspired enough by Iggy’s speech to come out and give us a win on a very special night.


  • Off the wall

    Post Game Embers is going to be fun.
    Wonder if Ari has a few adjectives to describe what she saw?

    Ari, if you go full “Iginla” mode we won’t blame you! ?

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    The first goal just can’t happen….leaving a guy unmarked in the slot. The Flames did not trail for a minute on their 7 game winning streak and today they never had the lead. The top line needs to be broken up..they are not generating much 5v5.

    • The Sultan

      The backbreaker was the 4th goal. Smith can be Smith all he wants behind the net, but a clear shot with no traffic in the dying minutes of a game when your team is down by one? Talk about kicking you while you’re down.

  • LannyMac

    This team has crossed off a lot ? people had going into this season except for the one that even the most peripheral of fans had. Our goaltending is sh!t. As much good as Tre has done how the hell did he not see the goaltending as a major issue. I dont expect this team to win the stanley cup but if this team bows out quickly like there last visit with Brian Elliot the position players will get minimal playoff experience. The only way to learn how to win in the playoffs is to experience competitive games in the playoffs. If your goaltenders are sieves in the playoffs its hard to learn anything.

  • aye

    Despite the loss tonight I would gladly take Minny as our first round opponent. Flames were unlucky on the 2nd goal (Janko’s clearing attempt going off of Wild player’s skate and in), which changed the game. But the Flames were clearly the superior team, and I can’t see the series going more than 5 games if that is the matchup.

  • Puck Head

    Well this is depressing. I guess I missed the part where we were going undefeated for the rest of the season. Guess we dropped from 1st in the Pacific to lotto hopefuls overnight.

  • Juan Valdez

    I think the goal was disallowed because Dubnyk had a temper tantrum and the ultimate decision had nothing to do with the play itself. It didn’t take long for the play to reviewed so it makes you wonder where the conclusive evidence was that wasn’t in the replays shown to the TV audience.

  • LannyMac

    No matter how good or bad the playoffs go Monahan needs to go. Just before the 4th goal Lindholm was battling in the Wild’s corner and did a great job against two player to get the puck to Monahan who was one on one with a Wild player and to me it looked like he could not give a sh!t about retaining position and almost immediately the guy easily got off of the boards and got the puck out. Even if he is playing with an injury at crunch time again this year all the more reason to get ride of this China Doll. If he isnt injured its obvious he has no interest in turning up the intensity when it is needed. If Tre is as good as a GM as he has shown at times Monahan will be traded in the off season.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    The Flames were unlucky to have that goal called back…Bennett is permitted to follow the puck in the crease. We were by far the better team while Minnesota was by far the more opportunistic team. More concerning is the type of goals Smith let in were indicative of his play during his slump.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    A couple of Iginla stories, neither of which is OMG! worthy, but they are beginnings and ends. When Iggy was traded to the Flames, I hated the deal. Sure I thought Iggy would be a solid NHLer, but to get him, the club traded Joe freaking Nieuwendyk, a team leader and legend who was still in his 20s and had lots left in the tank. I fumed that the cheapskate owners traded super Joe rather than pay him what he was worth. My prediction at that time was that the Flames got skinned as Dallas got the better player. While joltin’ Joe went on to lead the Stars and later the Devils to Stanley Cup wins, the Flames didn’t do too poorly in the deal as Iginla would become the greatest Flame of all time.

    On 30 July 2018, I was in Edmonton. I parked my car on a side street in Old Scona. I had no reason to choose this street other than it was not too far from where I had to go. I finished my business, got back in my car, switched the radio on and pulled away. I hadn’t driven more than 20 metres when the sign on the building on my right immediately grabbed my attention because of the familiar name on it: Iginla. It was the office of personal injury lawyer Elvis Iginla. At the same time I was passing the office, the radio announcer was reporting that Elvis’ boy had officially retired from the NHL.

    Just like on so many game nights when Iginla played and didn’t get enough support from his teammates so too was the case on his special night as his old team let him down. Flames got lots of shots, little traffic in front of DD and very few grand scoring chances.

    Didn’t care much for the officiating in the 1st as I noted a pair of blatant calls overlooked. Looks like MICK was in the house to honour Iggy too.

    I am still in the dark as to what is and what isn’t goaltender interference. I’ll bet the officials are too, so they are guessing just like I am.

    I thought Hanifin played one of his better games. His GAS meter was high most of the night.

    Zucker would like mighty good as a Flame. If it’s true that he was close to being a Flame earlier in the week, Tre should look into reviving the deal for Zucker in the offseason.

    This is most likely Smitty’s last season in the NHL but that smash mouth he gave Fiala should earn him an invite to Stamps’ camp as Huffer is still down a couple of DBs.

    As for Smitty the goalie, not a night to remember. Had this been the opening game in the playoffs, I am pretty sure Flame fans would demand Smitty be nailed to the bench for the rest of the series. I see the ongoing struggle between Smitty and Rittich for the starter’s job much like a tennis match with advantage Rittich following tonight’s game.

    Whether or not the Flames win the Pac might well be decided in the next 4 games. The two with Vegas already reek of playoff stank. What should have been a gimme against the Coyotes is anything but as the howlers are one of the hottest teams in the league and making a game effort to play in the postseason.