Calgary Flames 1 Minnesota Wild 2 (SO)
The Flames came into this contest one spot ahead of the Wild and 1 point ahead of them in the Western Conference. They left the Xcel Energy Center tied with Minnesota after only securing 1 of a possible 2 points, losing 2-1 in a shoot out.
1st Period: Calgary Flames 0 Minnesota Wild 1
It’s impossible to fathom that a team could dominate a period like the Flames did for 17 minutes and still come out down by a goal after 20. That’s exactly what happened. Calgary owned the entire period with nearly 6 times the quality scoring chances than the Wild, but Minnesota took advantage of one of Calgary’s 3 broken sticks and cashed in. Sam Bennett had a stick explode on him and Minnesota would use the advantage to take a lead on one of their 4 shots. Matt Cullen would beat a sprawling Mike Smith and somehow the Wild would lead 1-0. Calgary had all the jump, the better scoring chances, 2 PPs, 10 SOG, yet they had 0 in the score column. The Flames fore-check was relentless and it created multiple turnovers, but where they failed repeatedly in the period was on the PP. Calgary had 2 opportunities and they looked like they were sleep walking through the 5 on 4. They actually looked like a completely different team when playing without the man advantage.
2nd Period: Calgary Flames 1 Minnesota Wild 1
The second period wasn’t as dominating for the Flames nor was it as riveting as the first 20 minutes of play. The Flames did catch a break though as Devan Dubnyk would leave the game with a lower body injury, giving the Flames a chance at a cold goalie coming off the bench. Each team had 10 shots on net in the period and much like the first, it took almost the entire period for the red light to be lit. Johnny Gaudreau would grab a loose puck and find Micheal Ferland at the blue line and he wouldn’t miss. Ferland would fire an absolute rocket one timer and bury his 12th of the season, tying the game at 1-1. Mike Smith would see more action in the period, but nothing that would stress the Flames netminder out, as he would stop all 10 shots he saw.
3rd Period: Calgary Flames 1 Minnesota Wild 1
Posts. That was the theme of the third period. Each team’s best scoring chances came THIS close to going in, but the iron saved each team’s goalies. Micheal Ferland had the best chance of any player as he had a WIDE open net and drew iron, keeping the Flames off the board and the game tied 1-1. That was pretty much the excitement for the period on both sides, with the Flames coming up empty on the only PP opportunity of the period.
Overtime: Calgary Flames 1 Minnesota Wild 1
There’s a reason why 3 on 3 OT works well and this overtime is a prime example. Short of some cycling by the Flames mid way through that slowed the tempo, this OT was a back and forth affair. The Flames had 5-6 solid opportunities to end this game, including 2 Grade A chances in a row from Sean Monahan, but the Flames were kept off the score sheet and Mike Smith stood tall in the other end and we were off to a shoot out.
Shootout: Calgary Flames 1 Minnesota Wild 2
As much as 3 on 3 OT is great, shoot outs are the exact opposite. Calgary would get their only goal of the shoot out from Johnny Gaudreau as Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, Matthew Tkachuk and Micheal Ferland would all come up empty in the gimmick portion of the game. Minnesota would get goals from Chris Stewart and the game winner from Mikael Granlund in the 5th round to get the Wild a 2-1 win.
Calgary, again, seemed to deserve a better fate than only 1 point. All 4 lines played extremely well and they got solid defence all around. If you only watched the first period and saw how Calgary played you would have thought that they would have put a couple in the net in the remaining 2 periods and that they would have won going away. They hit a post. They had multiple, quality chances in OT and came away with nothing. Even with a cold goalie coming off the bench to start the second period, it took 18+ minutes for the Flames to solve Alex Stalock. The failure to secure 2 points in this contest will and should fall squarely on the shoulders of the Flames PP unit. Calgary was 0-3 with the man advantage, not even getting a shot on net on their first PP. The Flames had the Wild on the ropes and let them get up and back into the fight. Looking back, the Wild’s first period goal after being BADLY outplayed by the Flames was probably an omen of how this game would end.
Flame Of The Game
Micheal Ferland (F). Ferland registered the Flames only goal, his 12th of the season and had a shot to win it in the second period, but his shot rang off the post and hit an official. He also had a chance to send the shootout to round 6, but the puck rolled on him and we wasn’t able to get a shot up on Alex Stalock.
Calgary Flames @ San Jose Sharks 7 PM MT
by Mark Parkinson