Wild aim for home-and-home sweep of Flames
Monday, 12.20.2010 / 7:00 PM
Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing EditorFLAMES (14-16-3) at WILD (14-13-4)
: SNET-W; Fox Sports-North.
: Calgary 5-4-1; Minnesota 3-5-2.
: This is the fourth of six meetings between the Northwest Division rivals and the second of a home-and-home series. Minnesota earned a 3-1 victory at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night for its second win in three tries against the Flames this season.
: The game was scoreless until late in the second period, but the Wild found a way behind the work of veteran Mikko Koivu
, who had a goal and two assists en route to victory. Not lost in the shuffle was the play of goaltender Niklas Backstrom
, who made 14 saves in the third period. The victory allowed the Wild to move past Calgary into 13th place in the Western Conference.
Flames: Matt Stajan
scored the lone goal for Calgary on Saturday night, which came at 14:43 of the third period. Flames captain Jarome Iginla
saw his nine-game point streak come to an end. Iginla had 5 goals and 7 assists during the impressive stretch.
"They took advantage of some opportunities," Flames coach Brent Sutter said. "We had some breakdowns. It didn't happen offensively tonight."
Backstrom, who has struggled the past month having allowed 28 goals in his previous six starts, bounced back in a big way Saturday night. He made a huge glove save off Alex Tanguay
early in the second on a one-timer to keep Calgary off the scoreboard until Stajan solved him late in the third period.
"Every win is big, especially in the West," Backstrom said. "There's 15 really good teams. I don't even how many points we have (to get) to eighth place. The biggest thing for us is to get better every night. There's a lot of areas we have to be better in. If we do that, we can gain some points and be a good team in the playoffs."
Iginla's recent run allowed him to take command of the Flames' scoring lead with 30 points (14 goals, 16 assists) in 33 games. … Koivu's three-point night Saturday moved him into a tie with Martin Havlat for Minnesota's scoring lead. Each player has 28 points.
Calgary will be without Steve Staios (ribs), Raitis Ivanans
(head) and Daymond Langkow
(neck). … Wild defenseman Cam Barker missed Saturday's game due to personal reasons.
Calgary is 18-2-1 against Minnesota when Iginla scores. Stajan's tally was just his second in 45 games dating back to last season. … Prior to Saturday's win, Backstrom's save percentage dropped from .938 to .914 and his goals against average rose from 1.91 to 2.75 in his previous six starts.
: "That's a good, solid road win. We didn't do anything special. We just won wall battles and got pucks in deep and capitalized on our chances. That's how you win on the road." -- Wild forward Eric Nystrom after Saturday's 3-1 win at Calgary