The Calgary Flames got their first glimpse of the new-look Minnesota Wild, but it wasn’t Zach Parise or Ryan Suter that did the damage.
Instead, it was an old Minnesota foe that doused the Flames.
Goaltender Niklas Backstrom kicked out 23 of 24 shots while Mikko Koivu scored the shootout winner in his 500th career NHL game for the Wild’s first road victory of the year as Minnesota beat the Flames 2-1 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.
After Parise and Jiri Hudler exchanged goals in the opening round of the shootout, Koivu threw a nifty deke on Flames’ starter Leland Irving and slid the puck into the gaping net. Backstrom then stopped Alex Tanguay to preserve the win.
Hudler, with his third goal of the season, beat Backstrom just 1:28 into the third period to force overtime. Streaking in two-on-one, Hudler looked off Roman Cervenka and beat the Minnesota goaltender between the legs for Calgary’s lone goal. The tally gives Hudler eight points in seven games this season.
Kyle Brodziak, with his first of the year, gave the Wild a 1-0 lead with 1:38 remaining in the first period.
After Suter was able to keep the puck in at the point, Taber, AB product Devin Setoguchi found Brodziak from the slot, who put the puck behind Irving while flying through the air to give Minnesota the early lead.
GOAL OF THE GAME
Breaking in on a two-on-one with Roman Cervenka, Hudler opted instead to keep the puck, snapping a wrister through the legs of Backstrom to tie the game 1-1 just 1:28 into the third period.
SAVE OF THE GAME
In a span of nine seconds in the game’s opening minute, Irving denied Koivu twice to keep the contest scoreless. First, the 24-year-old netminder blockered away Koivu’s initial attempt then trapped his second attempt from five feet out.
HIT OF THE GAME
Curtis Glencross, active with the body on the night, sent Wild center Matt Cullen to the ice at Calgary’s blueline, inadvertently sending linesman Mark Wheler to the ice as well.
After Koivu buried his shootout attempt behind Irving, Backstrom stopped Alex Tanguay to preserve the Wild win.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
“You want to score. I’ve done it in the past and comfortable doing it. The crappy thing is you don’t score every time you go, but I wish I would have scored. I’m pretty angry at myself for not putting it in the back of the net and giving our team a chance to win in the shootout.”
- Blair Jones on his shootout attempt
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Working the point on the power play with Suter in the box for interference, defenceman Dennis Wideman played the full two-minute man-advantage and topped out his shift at 2:06. Wideman also had shifts lasting 1:56 and 1:30 in the game.
The Flames remain without four regulars in Sven Baertschi (week-to-week, hip flexor), Mikael Backlund (indefinite, lower-body), Mike Cammalleri (day-to-day, hip flexor) and Miikka Kiprusoff (day-to-day, lower body). Both Cammalleri and Kiprusoff are eligible to come of injured reserve in time for Wednesday’s game against the Dallas Stars.
Joey MacDonald, Derek Smith and Anton Babchuk were also scratched for Calgary.
The Flames continue their three-game home stand at Scotiabank Saddledome Wednesday against the Dallas Stars (7:30 p.m. MT, TSN) before welcoming the St. Louis Blues Friday (7 p.m. MT, SNET-W).