Following Wild games, Managing Editor Glen Andresen will give the five takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.
Is Jarome Iginla not the biggest party pooper in Minnesota Wild history? Can’t the guy just let us have a good time when we’re trying to celebrate something like 400 sellouts? The guy is the you-know-what in the punch bowl.
Already responsible for many groans inside Xcel Energy Center, Iginla seemed to lull us all into a false confidence by going without a goal in 11 straight games against the Wild. Then, in a crucial matchup, Iginla delivered a devastating blow to the Wild’s playoff hopes by recording his third hat trick against Minnesota. No other player has posted more than one.
Iginla’s exploits against the Wild continue to grow. By scoring the game-winner, he now has eight game-winners against Minnesota to rank first all-time. The Flames are now 18-2-1 when Iginla scores against Minnesota.
I really wish all indications weren't that he's the nicest guy in the world, because all he does is make us sad. First, he assists on Sid Crosby's game winner against the U.S., and now this. He is officially off
my Christmas card list.
Iginla’s night overshadowed another superb showing from Guillaume Latendresse
, who was a force all night long. At times, it seemed as if the trio of him, Andrew Ebbett and Martin Havlat were out there every other shift. They were all over the place in the first, even as Calgary built a 2-0 lead. In the second, Latendresse found the net. He was the recipient of one gorgeous pass from Havlat, which he backhanded in to cut the lead to 2-1. He took an even better pass from Brent Burns, who hit him with a 100-footer at the Calgary blueline. G-Lat felt the Flames closing in, so he unloaded a howitzer that caught the top corner and made another comeback appear inevitable.
Latendresse has averaged 0.67 goals at home this season. Only Marian Gaborik in 2007-2008, averaged more goals per game at Xcel Energy Center (0.72).
We at the Wild offices would have looked pretty silly had there been less than 18,064 fans at the arena today. But with a crowd of 18,217, it became official that the Wild has sold out all 400 games played at Xcel Energy Center. Fittingly, Eva McClellan, a season ticket holder who has been to every single game, kicked off the game with the “Let’s Play Hockey” declaration, and she nailed it. Not that anyone should be surprised. She’s heard it 400 times, kind of like that “Soul Sister” song by Train.
Did you ever think we’d miss Miikka Kiprusoff? Perhaps realizing that Kipper has gotten shellacked in his last four outings against Minnesota, or that Vesa Toskala has great numbers with the Wild, head coach Brent Sutter had Kiprusoff on the bench in a baseball cap. Kiprusoff had started the previous 37 games against Minnesota. In fact, the last goalie to start for the Flames against the Wild was former Minnesota keeper, Jamie McLennan, who is now Calgary’s goalie coach. With a 27-save effort, Toskala is now 4-0-1 with a 1.44 goals against average against Minnesota. He’s won all four starts he’s made at Xcel Energy Center.
I debated on throwing this in, because I hate bringing up suspicious reffing unless Mick McGeough is involved. But there were some bizarre calls in the third period. With the Wild down by one, Mikko Koivu
made a spectacular move to get in on Toskala. After missing with a backhand, Koivu dove out of Toskala’s way, and made minimal, if any contact. Still, he was called for goaltender interference. Then, with 19 seconds left on his penalty, Owen Nolan reacted to Niklas Hagman ripping his stick out of his hands by drilling the Finn away from the play. That gave the Flames a two-man advantage in the third period of a crucial game with playoff implications. I’m not sure what the word to describe those kinds of calls would be, but I’m pretty sure it’s not “heroic.”
You actually have to feel a bit sorry for refs Kelly Sutherland and Chris Clamaga. The two guys they sent to the box (Koivu and Nolan) are two of the surliest guys in the game when the puck drops. I’m guessing they said a few things that will cause the zebras to lose a few winks of sleep tonight.