ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - If the Calgary Flames are going to earn a home-ice advantage in the playoffs, they will have to start winning on the road.
Minnesota's Marian Gaborik scored twice to break his franchise record for goals in a season and Brian Rolston added a short-handed tally to lead the Wild past the Flames 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Calgary, which won 3-2 at Minnesota on Sunday, is 1-2-1 thus far on its season-high, seven game road trip. The Flames are two points ahead of Colorado in the Northwest Division and have a game in hand over the Avalanche.
"You lose one and you've got to double-down for the next game," Calgary forward Shean Donovan said. "We really want to get our road record better and we've got three games on this road trip to rectify that so we've got to battle to get that done."
At 14-15-5, the Flames have the worst road record of any division leader.
Minnesota, which won for the second time in six games, closed within eight points of eighth place - and the final playoff position - in the Western Conference.
"They were good, they were ready, they were desperate, they want to make the playoffs," Flames captain Jarome Iginla said. "We're desperate, too, but anytime you lose the first one we knew they would be coming out even hungrier and more desperate. All around they were better."
After a scoreless first period, Calgary's Byron Ritchie netted his first goal in 16 games at 6:46 of the second period, taking a drop pass from Marcus Nilson at the top of the left circle and beating Manny Fernandez with a slap shot low on the glove side.
Gaborik, who had nine shots one goal, answered 2 minutes later on the power play. He fired a slap shot past a screened Miikka Kiprusoff for his franchise-record 31st of the season.
"It's cool," he said. "It's a good feeling and I'm happy."
He set the team mark of 30 goals during the 2001-02 season and matched it the following season.
Rolston scored at 19:07 when he tipped a clearing attempt by Wes Walz past Dion Phaneuf at the point, gathered the loose puck at the red line, outraced Phaneuf and Roman Hamrlik into the Flames zone, faked a forehand, and beat Kiprusoff between the pads with a backhand. It was his fourth short-handed goal of the season.
"We had way too many turnovers at their blue line and they strive on their counterattack," Ritchie said. "It seemed that we relied on Kipper way too much."
Like Sunday, Minnesota fired a season-high 39 shots at the Calgary netminder. The Flames had a combined 37 shots in the two games.
"We were talking about getting a lot of shots on them and trying to go for the rebound, and it worked tonight," Gaborik said.
Minnesota outshot Calgary 12-4 in the final period, but could not seal the win until Gaborik added an empty-netter with 28.9 seconds to play. His seven shots in the third period tied his team record.
"This was probably one of our best games, starting with the goalie and on down to defense and forward. Everyone was involved," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said.
Notes: Erik Westrum, who grew up about 15 miles from the Xcel Energy Center, made his Minnesota debut. He is the first Minnesota-born player to wear a Wild sweater since Darby Hendrickson 124 games ago. ... Wild C Randy Robitaille got an assist on Gaborik's empty-net goal to give him 38 points this season, a career high. ... Calgary C Stephane Yelle played his 700th NHL game. ... Calgary has games in St. Louis, Columbus and Dallas before returning home for seven of the final 11 games, including two with Colorado.
|Byron Ritchie (2) ASST: Marcus Nilson (11)|
1 - 0 CGY
|PPG - Marian Gaborik (31) ASST: Pierre-Marc Bouchard (37), Kurtis Foster (17)|
1 - 1 Tie
|SHG - Brian Rolston (28) ASST: Wes Walz (15)|
2 - 1 MIN
|EN - Marian Gaborik (32) ASST: Marc Chouinard (14), Randy Robitaille (26)|
3 - 1 MIN
|Kurtis Foster Elbowing against Shean Donovan|
|Roman Hamrlik Holding the stick against Pascal Dupuis|
|Kurtis Foster Hooking against Jarome Iginla|
|Darren McCarty Holding against Filip Kuba|
|Cale Hulse Tripping against Derek Boogaard|
|Marc Chouinard Hi-sticking|
|Andrew Ference Slashing against Marc Chouinard|