Sweep! Flames beat Wild in home-and-home set
If the home-and-home series between the Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild was any indication of the kind of hockey we’ll see in the playoffs, the sweep is a good indication of what the Flames are capable of.
Following up Saturday’s 7-3 win at the Saddledome, the Flames beat the Wild again in St. Paul on Tuesday with a 5-1 final.
On the heels of the second straight victory, goaltender Jacob Markstrom said the Calgary Flames went into the two games with that playoff mindset.
“This is kind of like a mini playoff series,” Markstrom told Flames TV after the game. “We didn’t want to split them.”
Markstrom was a big reason why his team came away with a 12-4 total over the 120 minutes of action. With 32 saves, the NHL’s second star for the month of February made big saves at key times on Tuesday.
The big backstop had a lot of help, too. Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane, Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli and Mikael Backlund all scored to support the offence. Two of them came on the powerplay, and the penalty killers were perfect on the night, too.
Considering how much better the Wild were on Tuesday after Saturday’s embarrassment in Calgary, the Flames responded to every piece of adversity with timely plays.
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Tkachuk scored in the first 72 seconds after Toffoli drew a penalty on his first shift. The early lead was critical in the hostile barn.
“That was huge to kind of get the crowd out of it a little bit and get the momentum going our way,” Markstrom said.
Lindholm’s 24th snipe of the season came just 23 seconds after Kirill Kaprizov set up Marcus Foligno to bring the Wild to within one strike in the second period.
Another big moment from the top line, which is showing no signs of slowing down as one of the NHL’s best trios.
Toffoli’s third goal in the two-game set, his fifth in seven games as a member of the Calgary Flames, sapped any spirit left in the Wild.
“We scored at the right times today,” Lindholm said via Zoom.
And just like that, the Flames have started another winning streak after their worst performance of the season in Vancouver.
“The 7-1 games was a tough one,” Lindholm said.” Everything that could go wrong went wrong. It’s good that our team found ways to regroup and beat a good team twice. That’s a very good team.”
Unfortunately for the Wild, the Flames are better.