Held to just three shots on goal in regulation and overtime, Iginla scored the clinching goal in the shootout, lifting the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 victory over the Wild on Wednesday night.
"You just get to a shootout and you know how it can go," Iginla said. "You want a chance to just end it. Fortunately that went in. That was just inches. It's a good break, feels good."
It should come as no surprise to the Wild, who have been tormented by Iginla over the years. He entered with 41 points in 38 career games against Minnesota, and his 24 goals against the Wild are 10 more than the next closest opponent.
"He's one of the best shooters in the game," Wild defenseman Nick Schultz said. "When it comes down to a shootout, he's one of the best players in the game and he can hurt you like that."
Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves in regulation and then stopped Mikko Koivu in the shootout after Kristian Huselius opened with a goal. When Brian Rolston missed the net with one of his trademark slap shots, it was up to Iginla to win it - and he did just that.
Brent Burns and Kurtis Foster scored in regulation for the Wild, and David Moss and Huselius had goals for the Flames, who won for the first time in five games.
"We haven't been playing well at all our last few games and we were trying to stop it and get some momentum going again," Iginla said. "These are almost four-point games. You want them. They are huge momentum."
Backstrom had 29 saves for the Wild in a surprising start.
The Wild entered the night riding the sharp goaltending of Josh Harding, who started the season as a backup but was 3-0 with a 1.54 goals-against average and a .959 save percentage in the last three games to lead Minnesota back to the top of the Northwest division.
Harding tweaked his groin during pregame, and Backstrom was told he was getting the start just five minutes before the puck dropped.
|Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff stops the shot of the Wild's Mikko Koivu to seal Calgary's 3-2 shootout win at Minnesota on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)|
"It wasn't easy, but you can't think too much about that," Backstrom said. "You need to step up and try to help the team, be there for the team when they need you. You can't hide behind that or find excuses. You have to go out there and play your best."
Backstrom has been shaky at times this season after a brilliant rookie year in which he led the league in goals-against average and save percentage. He was so-so Wednesday night, but did stop Huselius on a breakaway with 25.9 seconds left in overtime to send it to a shootout.
But he wasn't able to come up as big there, and it was a tough loss for the Wild to swallow after dominating the first 30 minutes.
The Flames got off to a plodding start with just seven shots in the first period and only one through the first 13 minutes of the second period.
But Moss made the second one count when he took a slip pass from Alex Tanguay and lifted a backhander over the goaltender's stick for a 1-0 lead.
The Wild were 2-for-7 on the power play, including Burns' goal in the second period that tied it at 1.
"The second period was a chance where we could have taken over the game and we didn't get the goals we needed to get the spark," Schultz said. "But it's a big point for us."
Notes: Wild F Mark Parrish sat out with a sore back. ... The Xcel Energy Center was sold out for the 300th consecutive game. Every home game the Wild have played has been sold out. ... Flames F Owen Nolan, a 36-year-old veteran, got the better of Wild rookie Aaron Voros in a fight in the second period, landing an uppercut that snapped Voros' head back. ... Minnesota Vikings Hall of Famer Carl Eller attended the game and wore a white Wild sweater.