The Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild met for the third and final time on the season as the Flames returned from their all-star break. Minnesota meanwhile was coming off a 5-2 victory up in Edmonton on Tuesday night and looked to take all four points in Alberta.
Calgary had won the two previous meetings this season between the clubs by 1-0 and 3-2 scores respectively and was aiming for the sweep of the best team in the Western Conference.
The Flames stuck with Brian Elliot in goal while Calgary-kid Devan Dubnyk got the start for Minnesota. Jyrki Jokipakka was a late insert into the lineup as Brett Kulak fell ill.
The Flames would get out in front 4:26 into the game with Alex Chiasson deflecting a shot from Sam Bennett past Dubnyk. Most of the credit on the goal should go to the playmaking of Kris Versteeg who also got an assist on the goal. 1-0 Flames early.
The Flames would then get a powerplay a few minutes later as T.J. Brodie was interfered with in the defensive zone.
Sean Monahan would bury a rebound off a Johnny Gaudreau deflection as the Flames capitalized during the man advantage. Brouwer gets an assist after taking the original shot as well, and it’s 2-0 Flames less than halfway into the first.
Calgary would then find themselves shorthanded as Brodie took his own penalty, but after about a minute of solid killing Michael Frolik would draw a penalty breaking out of the defensive zone to send the game to 4-on-4.
The 4-on-4 and following Flames powerplay didn’t generate any action as the teams returned to even strength.
Minnesota would get another powerplay later in the period but some good saves from Elliott as well as a few shot blocks would help to kill off the penalty.
Other than that neither team would get any prime scoring chances for the rest of the period as Calgary heads to the intermission up 2-0 despite shots being 13-9 for Minnesota.
The Flames would start the second period with a lot of strong shifts, pushing the pace, and generating some good scoring chances which were denied by Dubnyk.
Calgary would be given a phantom penalty after the play with Lance Bouma being called for unsportsmanlike conduct but the Flames PK unit would be solid again.
Shortly after Brodie would draw his second penalty of the night after a frustrated Nino Niederreiter tried to hit him but got him up high. Calgary wouldn’t generate much of anything on this powerplay though.
The Wild would get on the board after Wideman had a shot block and then proceeded to stumble and fall on his face to give Minnesota a 2-on-1 which Jason Zucker would finish and it’s 2-1.
Following that goal the play would shift in favor of the Wild as they maintained the pressure on the Flames but Elliott made some terrific saves to keep it 2-1 after the second period. Shots after forty minutes are 24-23 for Calgary.
Calgary would get an early powerplay after Johnny Gaudreau was slashed (I know!! I’m shocked they called it too!!). The Backlund unit would begin the PP and generate tremendous opportunities but be unable to score.
Then Sean Monahan would score with a beautiful shot from the slot over Dubnyk’s shoulder. His second of the night and 18th of the season makes it 3-1 Flames.
1:13 later Deryk Engelland would wire another goal into the net for the Flames and make it 4-1. Matt Stajan gets an assist on the goal which he was more than deserving.
Micheal Ferland would then add to the Flames lead later in the period burying a shot on a 2-on-1.
The rest of the game would feature both teams just playing out the clock as the Flames defeat the Wild 5-1 and finish off the game outshooting Minnesota 36-29.
With the victory the Flames move their record up to 26-24-3 and move into a playoff spot for the night. Calgary also sweeps the season series with the Wild in the process.
The Flames now have a mini two game winning streak as they head out east for a date with the New Jersey Devils on Friday night. Puck drop will be at 5:30 MT.
by Michael MacGillivray