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Wild rally to beat Flames 3-2 in shootout

by Dan Myers
ST. PAUL -- The Calgary Flames keep leaving points on the table -- and that's not a good way to make a playoff push.

For the third time in as many games, the Flames had to settle for a single point -- Devin Setoguchi scored the only goal of the shootout and Josh Harding stopped all four Calgary shots in the tiebreaker as the Minnesota Wild beat the Flames 3-2 on Thursday night for their second straight win.

The Flames, who lost 2-1 to Columbus in a shootout on Sunday and 2-1 in overtime at Colorado on Tuesday, again had to settle for a single point after they were unable to hold onto a 2-0 lead against the Wild. Dany Heatley scored midway through the second period during a power play and Darroll Powe tied it with 7:37 left in regulation when his shot barely got over the goal line before Matt Stajan swept it away.

After the first six shooters in the tiebreaker failed to score, Setoguchi snapped a shot past Miikka Kiprusoff and Harding denied Blake Comeau's wrister for the win. The Flames, who started the night two points behind eighth-place Los Angeles, missed a chance to pull even.

"It was a tough loss, no question," Flames captain Jarome Iginla said. "We were in control of that game, took some penalties and lost the momentum. "You look at the standings, this is a tough one. We all feel it tonight, we weren't good enough and there's no excuses."

Flames coach Brent Sutter was clearly unhappy afterwards -- and displayed his anger by punching a trash can.

It was an exhausting effort for Minnesota's defensemen Thursday. After losing Jared Spurgeon to a possible concussion in the first period, the Wild found itself in a jam in the third when another blueliner, Marco Scandella, blocked a shot and left the game. Matt Cullen, a veteran of more than 1,000 NHL games as a forward, was forced to play defense during crunch time.

Tom Gilbert, acquired at the trade deadline from Edmonton, played more than 30 minutes and earned the praise of coach Mike Yeo.

"I thought Gibby played a really, really strong game," Yeo said. "The more tired you get, the more difficult it gets to execute, the more difficult it is to do the extra things he has in his game. But you see him in overtime still making plays and setting things up."

Yeo also credited his fourth line for turning the tide in the second period. After falling behind 2-0, it was that group that changed the momentum with its physical play and knack for drawing penalties.

With the Wild down 2-0 midway through the second, Jed Ortmeyer drew a slashing penalty on Calgary's Curtis Glencross. Just 21 seconds later, Heatley's one-time snap shot from the left hash pulled Minnesota within one.

That sequence was the turning point. At one point early in the second period, Calgary led Minnesota 19-4 in shots. By the time the final horn in overtime had sounded, the Wild led 30-29.

"We weren't playing to start the game. It looked like we didn't have our skates on," Yeo said. "For a while there, we were so slow to react, we just watched them play. But those guys really set the tone for us as far as getting in on the forecheck, creating some big hits and some momentum for us."

After being outshot 17-4 in period one, the Wild turned the tables, outshooting the Flames 26-12 the rest of the way, including a 12-3 edge in the final period.

However, the Wild couldn't get another puck past Miikka Kiprusoff until Powe's goal. After a wraparound try by Nick Johnson sat idle in the crease, Powe crashed the net and jammed at the puck until it crossed the line. At full speed, Stajan appeared to have cleared the puck just in time, and the play was ruled no goal on the ice. But after a lengthy review, a sliver of white appeared behind the puck, the goal was confirmed and the game was tied.

It was a stunning turn of events for the Flames.

Lee Stempniak's rebound goal late in the first had given Calgary a 1-0 lead. Anton Babchuk's blast from the left circle during a 5-on-3 power play 1:38 into the second made it 2-0, and it appeared the Flames were on their way.

Assistant coach Craig Hartsburg said Calgary lost its flow after Heatley's goal.

"We had a great start and did everything we wanted to do," Hartsburg said. "In the second period, we got sloppy, took some penalties and stopped skating.

"In the third period, we really looked like we were playing not to lose instead of to win, and that's something that caught up with us in this hockey game."

Both teams had chances to win in overtime. With just over a minute, a shot from the left circle by Calgary's Mark Giordano hit the post. Cullen had whiffed backdoor on a rolling pass by Gilbert just seconds before that.

Setoguchi's goal in the fourth round of the shootout was his third straight successful attempt following an embarrassing gaffe in Montreal last month when he fell down approaching the net. The Wild needed a goal on that try to extend the shootout.

"It's been nice to get a chance to redeem myself," Setoguchi said. "It's tough when you first come off [after the falling attempt], but it's a good laugh the next day after that. Obviously it [stunk] to go in and fall head first on a penalty shot. It's just something you look back at; I think it's the most press I've had in my career."

Harding made 27 saves to earn his 11th win of the season. Kiprusoff also made 27 saves.
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