The Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild were both looking to make it a three-game win streak tonight against each other. Full game recap here.
The Calgary Flames would be looking for a three-game win-streak tonight in their second meeting vs. the Minnesota Wild tonight. They lost their previous three games before these past two games they’ve won, even though they outshot their opponents in all games. In the first meeting between the Flames and Wild, the Flames lost 4-2 with one goal from Sean Monahan and one from Kris Versteeg.
Kris Versteeg as we know is on IR after requiring hip surgery. He’s now month-to-month. The Flames were 1/6 on the powerplay in the first matchup between the two teams with the PP goal coming from Versteeg. They’re definitely missing his presence with the man advantage.
Tonight will be a challenge for the Flames seeing how the Wild are 5-0-1 in their last six games at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild have also won their last two games and the two points up for grabs tonight are two big points.
The Flames are currently in the second wild-card spot with 16 wins and 34 points in 30 games. Right behind them are the Wild with 15 wins and 33 points in 29 games. A win for either team would put them ahead of the other and in a playoff spot while the other team will be on the outside looking in.
Mike Smith gets the nod tonight. His last win at Xcel Energy came over five years ago – in April of 2012.
The Calgary Flames started the first period with a dominating start. They had a good start with lots of jump and great forecheck. The Flames were outshooting the Wild 6-0 six minutes in. In fact, they hadn’t even let the Wild get a shot on goal until 11:20 into the period.
In the Flames first powerplay of the game, it didn’t look that great. They had no shots, two shot attempts, and they had much cleaner entries at even-strength. On the plus side, at least they were performing well at even-strength. The Wild looked somewhat lost. They were giving up lots of pucks when they shouldn’t have and they were sloppy in basically every zone.
No Flames line performed badly in that first period, which is something we don’t get to say all the time. In fact, the only player who had below a 50% CF% in the first period was Mikael Backlund (weird, I know), but that only happened because Sam Bennett‘s stick broke in the offensive zone and the Wild got a chance. And of course, in perfect Flames fashion, the Wild get on the board with just 2:36 left in the period. On their first and only chance of the period. This seems to be the storyline for the Flames their last six games.
They outshot the Wild 10-4 in the first period and had 19 shot attempts (5v5) compared to the Wild’s eight. The Flames would still have some work to do in the second.
To start the period, the Wild had a goaltender change for some reason, nobody quite knew why, so Alex Stalock would be between the pipes. It was later revealed that it was an undisclosed lower-body injury to Devan Dubnyk. The Calgary Flames took an early penalty from Michael Frolik so the Wild would be on the powerplay.
The Wild had two powerplays in the second period. They had some good chances, one in particular from Mikko Koivu, but Mike Smith brought his game. Other than those powerplays, to be quite frank, the period was somewhat boring. And many people on Twitter thought so too.
Around the halfway mark in the period, Sean Monahan had a great chance, but Stalock had a good save. Finally, with just 1:03 to go in the period, Micheal Ferland got the Flames on the board with a rocket shot from the blue line. The Wild outshot the Flames that period 11-10 and the Flames had 17 shot attempts (5v5) compared to the Wild’s 14.
The third period started with a bit of sloppiness from both teams. Less than three minutes in, Johnny Gaudreau had a great pass to Ferland who basically had a wide open net and he hit the crossbar. That’s going to keep him up at night. It hit the post and bounced off hitting a ref in the ear and cut him, leaving him bleeding above the ear. So the game would be short a ref for the rest of the time.
Matt Dumba, a Calgary native, had a great chance that didn’t seem like it was that dangerous, but Mike Smith had a great save to keep it a tie game. Near the end of the period, the Flames again had a few chances, but this one would need extra time, so off to OT we go.
For the most part in OT, the Flames maintained possession. As you’d expect from this team. And of course, Johnny Gaudreau had a couple of chances. There was a good stretch pass from Mark Giordano to Johnny but he couldn’t find the back of the net. Then there was another chance for Johnny to Monahan, but they again couldn’t get the game-winner. Mike Smith also had to be quite sharp in OT as the Wild did have a couple of good chances as well.
Nearing the end of OT, Monahan had a great chance to win the game for the Flames within the dying seconds of OT, but he basically missed an open net. So this one would need more than just OT and off to a shootout we go.
Surprisingly, the Calgary Flames started with Gaudreau as their shooter. Gaudreau has never been that great in the shootout, but with Kris Versteeg out, they need to make some readjustments. But with a nifty move, that of course needed some reviewing because only the Flames would have a shootout goal reviewed, we get a good goal.
This one counted and the shootout needed four rounds where, unfortunately, the Wild won the extra point. Minnesota took their spot and the Calgary Flames fell out of a playoff spot. But it’s still an extremely tight race. The Flames are now on a four-game point streak for the first time this season. That’s a good sign.
Let’s just hope that they’ll have more luck in Thursday’s game against a Pacific Division opponent, the San Jose Sharks, where two big points are up for grabs again.