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Calgary Flames Fall to Minnesota Wild in Comedy of Errors

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Martin Pospisil

It was a game that involved more head scratching than a kindergarten breakout of lice.  

When the forwards would start to skate looking for a breakout pass, the defence would stay stationary. When Calgary started to close in on a high danger chance, someone would pass the puck to a Minnesota defender. When the Flames finally caught hold of momentum, Center Nazem Kadri bowled himself and the puck through goaltender Dustin Wolf and into the net to erase all progress made. 

It was just that kind of night for Calgary, who after a 5-2 loss to the Wild now have a record of 10-12-3. Two wins below .500 and four points out of the final Wildcard position in the Western Conference.  

After much talk of a stronger start to begin their first periods, a neutral zone misplay led to Wild forward Marcus Foligno finding himself in a 1-on-1 situation with Flames rookie defenceman Ilya Solovyov. A hard cut to the middle beat the Belarusian blue liner and the Minnesota veteran fired a top corner shot that was eventually confirmed to be a goal.  

Head Coach Ryan Huska had little to say of his team’s first period. When asked what was the difference between the two teams tonight Huska responded.

“They were competitive and in the first period our most physical player was probably our goaltender.”

That says enough.

Twenty minutes later, the Flames once again came out flat to start a period. With a vacant neutral zone to set up a play in the Flames end, Wild forward nailed a soft shot off the post from the slot. All Star winger Kirill Kaprizov found the rebound and the lead was up to two.  

45 seconds later, Matthew Boldy walked through the middle-slot unchallenged and put yet another easy shot past goaltender Daniel Vladar. The 26-year-old was signaled to take the rest of the night off and blue chip netminder Dustin Wolf took over.  

Amid an endless sea of Calgary waffle passes and misplays, the Flames finally stumbled their way onto the board via a Mikael Backlund tip on a MacKenzie Weegar shot. They had their spark. 

Roughly six minutes later Matthew Boldy struck again, this time on the power play. A redirected shot on the power play from Kaprizov put the game up 4-1. 

In typical 2023-24 Flames fashion, the fight wasn’t over. Connor Zary cut the lead to two by deflecting an Ilya Solovyov backhand into the net.  

Hopes of a comeback were put away on a tragic misplay by Nazem Kadri 6:49 into the third. The Flames center slid into Wolf and brought the puck with him. What followed was one of the Flames’ poorer final stanzas. Passes were too soft to find their target, breakouts too slow to beat the Wild neutral zone formation and ultimately, the desperation to get back into the game faded to nothing.  

The Calgary Flames take to the ice next Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 p.m. MST.