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Flames-Wild: Inside the Game

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames


— Two third period goals by Wild captain Marian Gaborik gave Minnesota their first Northwest Division title and coach Jacques Lemaire his 500th career win as a head coach.

Owen Nolan goes to the net

The Flames could have clinched a playoff spot tonight by gaining one point but were unable to get the game to overtime.

Daymond Langkow scored the Flames lone goal, giving him 30 on the year.

Special teams was the story of the first period. Both teams were able to capitalize with the man advantage and all of the decent scoring opportunities for both clubs came while on the power play.

The first goal came early. With Eric Belanger in the box for holding, Daymond Langkow put home his 30th of the season. The power play marker came at 2:41 with assists going to Jarome Iginla and Adrian Aucoin.

Minnesota got themselves on the board when Todd Fedoruk got to the front of the net and got the puck over Miikka Kiprusoff at 5:54. His power play goal was his 6th of the season.

Right after the Wild's power play, Branko Radivojevic had an excellent opportunity but Kiprusoff came up huge.

Radivojevic tried to tuck it under Kiprusoff's leg and managed to get it beneath the Finnish netminder's left left but it trickled wide, going to Kiprusoff's right leg. Before any of the waiting Wild players could whack at the puck, Kiprusoff squeezed his legs shut.

Right at the end of the first period, Dion Phaneuf threw a huge hit on Stephane Veilleux. The open-ice check sent the Wild forward to the ice and drew an interference penalty. Right after the hit, Brent Burns went after Phaneuf and they dropped the gloves. Phaneuf had the edge in the tilt, landing several hard lefts before they both hit the ice.

The second frame was more reserved but Kiprusoff put on a show as the Flames had to kill off five penalties. His best of the night came when Kim Johnsson made a nice pass across the ice to Marian Gaborik. The Wild captain was parked on the right side of net and it looked like he had a goal but Kiprusoff stretched his right leg all the way across the goal line to deny Gaborik of a goal.

Calgary's problems started in the third period when Gaborik scored two big goals for Minnesota. His first was just 1:11 into the third and then a power play goal at 13:11.

"They took advantage of their advantage tonight tonight and that was the power plays," said head coach Mike Keenan.

The Flames tried to come back from the two goal deficit but the Wild played the trap and were able to shut down the Flames offensive opportunities.

THE BIG SAVE: The second period was the Miikka Kirprusoff show. His best save of the game came when Marian Gaborik took a nice pass from Kim Johnsson. Gaborik was parked on the right side of the net and Kiprusoff was on the left, watching Johnsson, and it looked like the Wild captain had a for-sure goal but Kiprusoff shut the door. He stretched his right leg across the goal line and made a beautiful pad save on Gaborik.
THE BIG HIT: Dion Phaneuf made an open-ice hit on Stephane Veilleux that sent the forward right to the ice. The hit drew ire from Brent Burns who skated in and got in a scrap with Phaneuf. The hit on Veilleux got Phaneuf an interference call and a five minute fighting major.
THE TURNING POINT: Marian Gaborik gave the Wild the lead early in the third period. His 41st of the season came just over a minute into the final period and the Flames weren't able to net the equalizer. ON the goal Gaborik beat Adrian Aucoin one-on-one and fired a perfect wrist shot past Miikka Kiprusoff.

QUOTABLE: "We let them spend too much time on the power play tonight. We have to be more disciplined and win that game five-on-five." - Flames defenceman Cory Sarich

THE ROSTER: The Flames scratches were D Rhett Warrener (ankle), D David Hale, F Mark Smith (head), F Craig Conroy (torso) and F Eric Nystrom.

WORTH NOTING: Craig Conroy was out of the line up with a torso injury that occured in Sunday's loss to Vancouver ... Stephane Yelle went down hard into the boards during the second period and left the game with an undisclosed injury...Depending n the outcome of the Canucks-Oilers game late Thursday, the Flames-Canucks game in Vancouver Saturday could be an elimination game with the winner going to the playoffs and the loser watching those playoffs.

BY THE NUMBERS: Daymond Langkow's 30th goal of the season gives him two consecutive 30+ goal seasons ... the shots in the first period were even at 7-7 and both teams got a power play goal off of two chances ... Jacques Lemaire now has 500 career victories as a head coach ... Jarome Iginla was once again thwarted in getting his 50th goal of the season. He hasn't scored in four games.
UP NEXT: The Flames have another chance to clinch a playoff spot when they play their last game of the regular season against the Vancouver Canucks. The puck drops in Vancouver at 8:00 p.m. on CBC.

Author: Victoria Peterson

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