CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames have relished playing the role of spoiler.
The Minnesota Wild wouldn't let them.
Trying to rally from a three-goal deficit late in the third period, Calgary's comeback fell just short as the Wild downed the Flames 4-3 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Monday.
The loss snaps Calgary's two-game winning streak, taking three of a possible four points away from the Phoenix Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers -- significantly hampering both teams' playoff aspirations.
The Flames almost managed to put a dent in Minnesota's with a strong third period.
Trailing 2-0 heading into final frame, Jiri Hudler capped a nifty three-way passing play from fellow Czechs Roman Horak and Roman Cervenka, redirecting the puck behind starter Niklas Backstrom at 3:42.
That goal, however, sparked Minnesota. Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored 11 seconds later, while Jason Pominville added his second of the game at 5:06 to give the Wild a 4-1 lead.
With his first career NHL goal, Ben Hanowski cut that lead to 4-2 at 11:19, sliding the puck through Backstrom during a crease scramble.
With Joey MacDonald on the bench for an extra attacker, Sven Baertschi converted a cross-crease pass from Mike Cammalleri with 39 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to one, as close as Calgary would come.
Desperate for two points in a tight Western Conference playoff race, the Wild wasted no time putting the puck behind MacDonald, scoring their first opportunity of the game.
Mikko Koivu put Minnesota up 1-0, burying a Zach Parise rebound just 2:1 into the game.
Pominville extended that lead to two in the second period, corralling Ryan Suter's wide point shot off the far post and tucking it across the goal line before MacDonald could get across.
GOAL OF THE GAME
Scoring in back-to-back games, Baertschi took a cross-crease feed from Cammalleri and buried it behind Backstrom to draw the Flames to within one late in the third.
SAVE OF THE GAME
Looking for his second of the game, Koivu tried to jam home a quick set-up from Parise at the side of the net but was met by the pad of MacDonald.
HIT OF THE GAME
Midway through the second period, Mikael Backlund sent the 6-foot-1, 198-pound Ryan Suter crashing into the boards.
Pominville's one-timer off Cullen's feed 5:06 into the third period gave the Wild a 4-1 lead and would eventually hold up as the game winner after Calgary's late push.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“To score in the NHL is something you do in your backyard in the summer, playing road hockey with your buddies, so to finally do it is pretty special.”
STAT OF THE GAME
After going 13 games without a goal this season, Baertschi now has found the back of the net in two straight contests.
Derek Smith (knee), Matt Stajan (upper body), Alex Tanguay (knee) and Brian McGrattan (shoulder) all missed the game due to injury. Anton Babchuk was the lone healthy scratch against Minnesota.
The Flames welcome the Detroit Red Wings to Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. MT, TSN) before wrapping up the home portion of their 2013 schedule with a bout against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday (7 p.m.MT, SNET-W).