CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames struck first. The Minnesota Wild struck often.
After Calgary opened the scoring, Minnesota scored five unanswered goals to beat the Flames 5-1 at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday night.
The loss drops Calgary (6-7-2) under .500 heading into back-to-back games against the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche on Thursday and Friday to conclude a four-game, seven-day road trip.
Tied 1-1 after 20-minutes, the Wild started to get going.
Mikael Granlund fed Jason Pominville in the slot but Reto Berra, making back-to-back starts, denied the NHL’s First Star of the Week with his glove five minutes into the frame.
When Lance Bouma was whistled for hooking, Berra stepped up and made another dazzling save. With Zach Parise set up on the doorstep to his right, Berra sprawled and extended his leg, making a pad save to deny the Wild forward’s first attempt.
Unfortunately for Berra, Parise had time to collect the rebound and put it in the net to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead at 6:28.
On a power play of their own with Pominville in the box for tripping, the Flames pressed, trapping Minnesota in their end for over 90 seconds but failed to capitalize.
The Wild tacked three more on Berra in the third.
After he made another dazzling pad save off Mikko Koivu on a set up by Charlie Coyle behind the net, Berra was beat by Justin Fontaine’s sixth of the season. Fontaine walked out from behind Calgary’s net and fired a shot that beat the Flames goaltender through a screen to give Minnesota a 3-1 lead at 8:05.
Thirty-three seconds later, Zenon Konopka scored his first as a member of the Wild, snapping a short-side shot by Berra at 8:38.
Minnesota capped their third period rush at 13:14.
Skating four aside with unsportsmanlike conduct coincidental minors to Matt Cooke and TJ Galiardi, the trio of Parise, Koivu and Ryan Suter went to work completing a tic-tac-tic-tac-toe that was capped by Parise’s eighth of the year.
Though the result wasn’t what the Flames would’ve hoped, there was a silver lining in the first period for 24-year-old Chad Billins.
After hauling the puck into the Wild zone, Bouma fed Jiri Hudler, who chipped the puck over Harding’s glove just 5:24 into the opening frame. With a secondary assist on the play, Billins earned his first career National Hockey League point in his debut.
But Calgary’s lead was clipped at 9:07 after Koivu snuck Parise’s rebound behind Berra to tie the game 1-1.
GOAL OF THE GAME
Hudler converted Bouma’s feed by chipping the puck over Harding’s glove at 5:24 of the first period for his sixth of the season.
SAVE OF THE GAME
Staring down Pominville alone in the slot, Berra flashed a quick glove hand to deny the Wild forward of his seventh goal in five games and 11th overall.
Down one after 40 minutes, the Flames surrendered two goals in a 33-second span in the third to Fontaine and Konopka, putting the game out of reach for Calgary.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"We could have Roy, Belfour and Brodeur in net and we wouldn't have won this game..they were that much better than us."
-Coach Bob Hartley
STAT OF THE GAME
Chris Butler blocked a game-high five shots in front of Berra against the Wild.
Sven Baertschi and Derek Smith were both healthy scratches for the Flames. Mark Giordano (broken ankle), Lee Stempniak (broken foot) and Christopher Breen (abdominal wall strain) all missed the game due to injury.
The Flames continue on to The Gateway of the West to tackle the St. Louis Blues (6 p.m. MT, SNET-Flames), their third of four on the road before returning to Scotiabank Saddledome.