CALGARY - Two nights after being the self-confessed culprit in a Flames loss, Alex Tanguay was a principal figure in a dramatic Calgary victory.
Tanguay scored his first two goals of the season and added an assist Wednesday night as Calgary handed the Minnesota Wild their first regulation loss of the season with a 5-3 come-from-behind victory.
Down 3-0 halfway through the second period, the Flames fought their way back to even by the second intermission thanks largely to the inspired play of Tanguay, Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow.
The dangerous Flames trio then capped the comeback 3:46 into the third when Tanguays second of the night put Calgary into the lead. On the deciding goal, Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom shovelled the puck behind his net for Nick Schultz, but it bounced over the stick of the Wild defenceman. Jarome Iginla corralled the puck and zipped a pass out to Adrian Aucoin at the face-off dot, whose slapshot was deflected in by Tanguay.
"I wasn't happy about Monday, I gave (San Jose) a goal that shifted the game's momentum," said Tanguay, whose goals were his first in 18 games dating back to last season. "Tonight, we were skating and Iggy and Daymond were playing great. When we're skating, we're first on the puck and with their skill level, it's easy to make plays."
Robyn Regehr added his first of the year at 8:03 to give the Flames some insurance.
Iginla and Dion Phaneuf also scored for Calgary (5-3-2). Iginla also had two assists giving him six goals and 14 points in the last seven games. The Flames are 5-1-1 in that stretch.
Brian Rolston, Mark Parrish, and Wes Walz replied for Minnesota (7-1-1). The Wild are the last NHL team to suffer a regulation time loss.
"This brings you back down to earth quick," said Parrish. "It's a humbling game, it really is. Just when you think you have everything figured out, something like that comes along and bites you."
The opening two periods were a tale of two different games.
After spotting the Wild a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes, the second period didn't begin much better initially as Calgary squandered a 1:42 two-man advantage, failing to get a shot on goal. An unimpressed sell-out crowd of 19,289 loudly booed the home team's lacklustre effort.
"I can certainly understand it," Iginla said. "Last game was terrible, it wasn't our style and this game was looking like a repeat. You can understand their frustration."
The booing served as a wake-up call, however, as the Flames turned it on after that scoring three times in a span of less than five minutes with Tanguay in the middle of all of them.
On Iginlas goal at 10:33 that got the Flames on the scoreboard, it was Tanguay jostling with Backstrom at the top of the crease that blocked Backstroms view of the shot from the Flames captain.
After Adrian Aucoin and Tanguay combined to set up Phaneuf at 14:05, Tanguay tied it with his first of the season on a pretty set-up from Iginla after a turnover by Wild defenceman Martin Skoula.
"It was huge for us to stay positive because it's easy to start saying 'here we go again' when everything's going wrong, especially against who we were playing," Iginla said. "We just tried to get the next goal. We threw the first period out, we threw the last game out, and that's not easy to do."
Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said he could feel the momentum shift.
"The game changed after that. We weren't as disciplined, we weren't as sharp, we stopped doing the good things that got us the lead that we had. You could see it coming," said Lemaire.
Minnesota jumped out to an early lead on power-play goals by Rolston at 3:16 and Parrish at 5:20. The Wild made it three goals on five shots at 9:41 when Walz neatly one-timed Branko Radivojevics pass into the top corner.
Calgary's penalty killers rebounded nicely, killing off the next seven Minnesota power plays, including three in the third period.
"We just didn't have that little extra that we had in the first period - battle to get the puck out or battle to get the puck in or win the one-on-one battles, those all went Calgary's way, which tends to happen to the team working the most," said Parrish.
Backstrom had 19 saves. The sophomore goalie had entered the night second in the NHL in goals against average (1.48), second in wins (5), and third in save percentage (.943).
Kiprusoff was perfect over the final two periods to end the night with 16 saves.
Notes: Backing up Kiprusoff was Matt Keetley, recalled Tuesday from Quad City when the Flames demoted Curtis McElhinney. In his only NHL action, 'McElhinney relieved Kiprusoff Monday against San Jose and yielded a goal on two shots in 23-plus minutes. McElhinney made his first start for the baby Flames Wednesday against Milwaukee but things did not go any better getting pulled after giving up four goals on seven shots. ... Calgary LW David Moss (head) returned to the line-up after missing one game bumping Eric Nystrom to the press box. ... Backstrom entered the game 26-1-3 in his career in games in which Minnesota led in the game at any point.