Unfortunately for the Flames, the claw back, come-from-behind games, have ended...for now. The hot Minnesota Wild came into the 'Dome with two things in mind. Beat another Northwest Division rival, and shut them out. They managed to do both as they defeated the Calgary Flames 6-0 Wednesday night. The season series is finished between these two and the Wild are on top 4-1-1.
Martin Havlat was first to get on the board for the Wild and would add another to the scoreboard before the night was over. Havlat has five goals and eight points in five games against the Flames.
Mikko Koivu, John Madden, Cal Clutterbuck and Chuck Kobasew also tallied goals for the Wild tonight with three of them coming in the third period.
Andrew Brunette picked up a pair of helpers and has five points (5a) against the Flames this season.
Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom was stellar in net for the Wild as he stopped all 37 shots on net for his second shutout of the season and his fourth career against the Flames.
Miikka Kiprusoff continued to struggle on his end as he allowed six goals on 24 shots tonight.
The Flames will try to forget this one and look ahead to the visiting Dallas Stars on Friday night. Game time is 7:00 pm MT on SNET-W.
TAKEAWAY ONE: OWNING THE NORTHWEST: The Wild are now 10-4-1 against Northwest foes this season, good for the second best record in the division. Minnesota trails Vancouver’s 11-2-1 mark, but is the only divisional opponent to defeat the Canucks in regulation this season as they shut them out 4-0 last Sunday night in Minnesota.
Three of the Wild's last four games have been against division rivals. They have been on the winning end for three of those four. Their only loss was 4-1 to Colorado at home January 14th.
TAKEAWAY TWO: CAN'T SOLVE BACKSTROM- KIPPER CAN'T STOP WILD: It seemed to be a lose-lose situation for the Flames tonight. Backstrom has been playing very well and did so again tonight as he picked up his second shutout of the season and his fourth against the Flames in 27 starts. In addition, he earned himself the first star of the night.
Before tonight's win, he was 3-0-1 with a 1.22 GAA and a .962 SV%.
On the other end, Kiprusoff continued to struggle with the puck. He allowed two goals on three shots and let in a total of six goals on 24 shots. This season, in the four games he played against the Wild, he allowed 14 goals. Going into this season, he was 24-10-5 with a 1.94 GAA and a 0.926 save percentage.
TAKEAWAY THREE: WILD SPECIAL TEAMS: The Wild are now in 7th in the league on the powerplay at 19.8% as Koivu picked added a goal tonight and went one for three.
As for their penalty kill, their killers have been brilliant over the last 11 games allowing just a pair of goals. (30-for-32, 93.8%). They have converted at a 94.3% rate (33-for-35) in their last 11 games in Calgary.
TAKEAWAY FOUR: WILD SNIPERS: Looking at the season series in review, Havlat led the Wild with eight points (5g,3a) against the Flames. Brunette, who had a pair of assists tonight, finished with five points in the series, while Clutterbuck finished with five.(3g,2a. Koivu finished up with four. (2g, 2a)
Brunette now has 44 points (15g, 29a) in 65 games against Calgary in his career while Havlat owns 28 points (16g, 12a) in 26 contests.
TAKEAWAY FIVE: WHO'S BLOCKING?
Usually the Flames are quite good in the shots blocked category. That was far from the case tonight. The Wild seemed to have an answer for every shot on net and every pass the Flames attempted. The Wild finished with 18 shots blocked while the Flames were held to just six. The defencemen are going to have to be better if they want to take away scoring chances and the goals that are finding their way past Kiprusoff right now.