Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 2-1 loss against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Thursday night:
1. It was a battle of the goaltenders.
Both Alex Stalock and Cam Talbot were on their games on Thursday as each team piled up the shots on goal but couldn't do much in the way of goal scoring.
Calgary's goals, for example, came on a deflection in the first period, and a nifty play by Johnny Gaudreau in the second after the puck changed directions quickly in the slot. There wasn't much Stalock could do about either of them.
Minnesota scored on a breakaway (more on that below).
At the end of the night, Stalock finished with 35 saves while Talbot had 42. On a night where one NHL goaltender scored a goal, props to both in Calgary who made life difficult for each of their opponents.
2. Stalock was doing things at both ends of the rink.
His play between the posts was a big reason the Wild even went to the third period with a puncher's chance of getting even. Calgary had several grade-A scoring chances and piled up 31 shots on goal through 40 minutes.
But he was also contributing on the scoresheet.
Moments into the second, his 150-foot stretch pass beat a Calgary line change and sent Mats Zuccarello in all alone on a breakaway, where he rifled a shot past Talbot that tied the contest at 1-1.
3. The Wild and Flames started and ended their season series quickly.
The meeting between the former Northwest Division rivals was the second in four days and the third in a span of just 18 days going back to a game in St. Paul just before Christmas.
The results couldn't have been much tighter.
After a 3-0 Wild victory on Dec. 23, the Flames won 5-4 in a seven-round shootout last Sunday. The game Thursday night, the only of the season at the Saddledome, was nip and tuck the entire way as well.
Ultimately, the Wild earned three of a possible six points, while Calgary earned four of six. With the tight nature of the Western Conference, Minnesota must hope that one point doesn't make too much of a difference down the stretch.