ST. PAUL, MN -- The Calgary Flames used to have the Minnesota Wild's number. That doesn't appear to be the case this season as they were able to halt the Flames five-game winning streak with a convincing 4-1 win.
This was the Wild's second win over Calgary this season. They defeated the Flames in December in overtime by a score of 2-1 and have now put 81 shots on Miikka Kiprusoff
in two games this season.
"I think it was a game where they just won more battles," Jason Jaffray told the FAN 960. "They just got the momentum when they needed to. They ran with it. Once they scored and got a couple behind Kipper, it was tough sledding for the rest of the game."
The team was coming off a hard-fought win in Nashville on Tuesday and while they refused to use exhaustion as an excuse, Jaffray did admit the team's hectic schedule does take a toll.
"I think it took a toll on a lot of our top end guys who have been playing a lot, obviously, over the last few games. But then again, like coach said, you've got to be able to depend on all four lines and all six defensemen and if you can roll over four lines and you can have confidence in playing all four lines, which I hope he does now, that's what you've got to do when you come into situations like this.
Calgary opened the scoring at 1:34 when Jokinen potted his second goal in as many nights. The Finn was able to position himself well and when Nigel Dawes rebound bounced off Niklas Backstrom, it landed right on Jokinen's stick.
Despite that quick goal, the Wild came charging back when Mark Giordano
was called for interference. The Wild's power play isn't known for it's potency, ranked 23rd in the league with a 16.5 per cent efficiency rate, but it looked solid on their first opportunity with the man advantage. Eric Belanger was able to tip Marek Zidlicky's booming shot past Kiprusoff.
Kyle Brodziak gave the Wild their first lead of the early in the second period. The former Oiler took a huge hit from Giordano but kept himself on his feet and went further into the Flames zone. He made a pass to Guillaume Latendresse before getting himself in perfect position to sneak it past Kiprusoff's foot when Latendresse sent it back.
Belanger put the Wild 3-1 at 11:23 when he was able to backhand the puck over Kiprusoff's glove. The goal prompted head coach Brent Sutter to start shuffling his lines accordingly. Most notably, Curtis Glencross
was placed on a line with Dustin Boyd and Eric Nystrom. The gritty winger has been playing on the top line during the Flames winning streak.
It didn't get any better in the third period for the visitors. Cal Clutterback scored his eighth of the year midway through the final frame and gave Minnesota a comfortable three-goal lead.
The Flames will head back home to take on the slumping Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. MST on Rogers Sportsnet West & The FAN 960.
|WHY CALGARY LOST |
|Mentally and physically, the Flames looked exhausted. Everything from their speed to their decisions with the puck looked a step slower than they usually do and the Wild were able to capitalize on that. The defense couldn't quite catch up with the Minnesota forwards and Kiprusoff was left to fend off 35 shots. Offensively, the Flames weren't able to generate their usual gritty forecheck, causing them to take too many soft shocks at Backstrom. Their tough-as-nails play along the boards wasn't there either and the Wild were free to roam all over the ice. |
|GAME NOTES |
|D Staffan Kronwall, D Aaron Johnson and F Brian McGrattan were healthy scratches. D Cory Sarich drew into his second straight game after being sidelined for 19 contests with a lower-body injury. He's been paired with Adam Pardy ... Craig Conroy was placed on the injured reserve early this week with a lower-body ailment. Jason Jaffray was recalled on Monday from the Abbotsford Heat ... this was the Flames second game of a two-game road trip and their second of five games in seven nights. |
|THE NUMBERS GAME |
|Jokinen has scored 2 goals in 2 nights, pushing his total up to 9 on the year. He has 29 points overall ... Jay Bouwmeester played in his 385 consecutive game. He is the NHL's current Ironman ... this was the first time in 6 games that Flames have allowed more than 1 goal ... Wild forward Belanger played in his 600th career game and scored 2 goals on his milestone night ... it was the Wild's 700th game in franchise history ... this was the 4th time this season Kiprusoff has played back-to-back games ... the Wild have gotten into double digits in shot in 5 periods against the Flames this season ... the Wild are 3-10 without former Flame Chuck Kobasew in the lineup. |
|"We're establishing a new identity here and that doesn't happen overnight." - Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher on the club's new, more offensive-minded style of play this season. |
"The team is really confident. I mean, you don't win five games in a row without confidence. It's a fun game to play when you're out there with that many skilled players." - Jaffray on the difference he's seen playing with the Flames in preseason to now.
"I think I jumped about 10 feet in the air when they scored that goal. It felt pretty good. I'm always outnumbered by these guys (his teammates) so it was a good feeling." - American Nystrom on the USA's win over Team Canada at the World Juniors
|HARDEST WORKING FLAMES |
| || || || |
|Olli Jokinen |
Has 2 goals in 2 nights, had 5 shots on net
| ||Miikka Kiprusoff |
Faced 35 shots, made quite a few highlight reel-worthy saves
| ||Eric Nystrom |
A gritty effort that saw the forward throw 3 hard hits