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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 4, Flames 2

Third-period rally lifts Minnesota to second victory of the regular season

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-2 win against the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Saturday night:

1. With the way third periods have treated the Wild early in the season, Saturday's three-goal, come-from-behind effort was badly needed.

The Wild appeared poised to go into the third with a 1-0 lead before things went completely sideways in the final minute of the second.

A weird bounce on a clearing attempt followed by a bouncing puck set up the Flames with numbers down low and a tap-in goal for Sean Monahan, tying the game at 1-1. 

Minnesota challenged for offsides, but lost, which gave the Flames a two-minute power play, a bulk of which carried over to the third. Ryan Suter committed a penalty seconds into the final period, giving Calgary a lengthy two-man advantage, and watched the Flames score just 20 seconds into the 5-on-3, putting the home team ahead by a goal.

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau, who said his team needed to do some "soul searching" following a shoddy third period on Friday in Winnipeg, came roaring back soon after.

Suter, whose penalty seconds into the third led to Calgary's second goal, wired a snap shot past Flames goaltender Mike Smith to tie the game with just over nine minutes left in regulation.

Video: MIN@CGY: Suter goes top shelf for tying goal

"We've had some terrible third periods; we've had some leads with 10 minutes to go and we find a way to lose," Suter said. "So, for us, it was important for us to have a good third period. We found a way to battle back and that's what good teams do."

Less than two minutes later, his defensive partner Jared Spurgeon ripped a clapper bar-down past Smith to put Minnesota back in front for good.

Video: MIN@CGY: Spurgeon beats Smith up high with slap shot

"They got that one early [in the period], but I like the way we responded," Spurgeon said. "It feels good as a group because we didn't think we were that far off."

Daniel Winnik added an empty-net goal with 1:03 remaining, his first with Minnesota, to seal the win.

Video: MIN@CGY: Winnik seals win with empty-net goal

Rookie Luke Kunin was one who really found himself on Saturday. Playing in his third NHL game, Kunin assisted on Suter's tying goal for his first NHL point, then assisted on Winnik's dagger for his first multi-point game.

He was also on the ice killing a penalty late in the game, protecting a one-goal lead, and had a crucial clear to help salt away the infraction.

"We needed it. If it hadn't happened, we would have had to go back to the drawing board," Boudreau said of the third period. "We weren't going to give up."

2. Another game, another Chris Stewart goal. 

The more things change, the more Stewart continues to stay the same ... at least to start the 2017-18 season. After a scoreless first period, Stewart scored his sixth goal with Minnesota nearly finished with an extended two-man advantage. 

The forward gained control of the puck between the corner and the faceoff circle and made a beeline for the net. Stewart's initial shot was gloved out of the air by Flames goaltender Mike Smith, but it came right back to him and he jammed it between Smith and the right post to give the Wild the lead.

Video: MIN@CGY: Stewart bangs home his own rebound for PPG

Stewart now has six goals through six games and has at least one point in all six games played this season, joining Andrew Brunette and Pavol Demitra as the only players in team history to tally a point in the first six games of a season. 

"He's unbelievable right now," Boudreau said. "I don't want to say anything, I don't want to jinx him, I just want him to keep doing what he's been doing."

His six-game point streak is his longest since he recorded at least a point in eight straight games in October of 2010. 

"Like he's done all year, he put us on the board," said Wild goaltender Alex Stalock. "Look to him, I guess, if you need a lead."

3. Speaking of Stalock, the netminder got his first start in two weeks and was outstanding, especially early, to keep the Wild afloat.

Stalock called his shot following a brisk morning skate on Saturday, saying he believed the Flames would go for the jugular in the first 10 minutes of the contest.

He was right.

Before the game was even five minutes old, Stalock had made eight saves, several of them of the grade-A variety, keeping Calgary off the board.

During one Flames power play, Stalock lost his stick and played without it for about 90 seconds. He made at least three big-time saves, including one with his left pad, to keep goose eggs on the board.

Video: MIN@CGY: Stalock comes up with series of saves

"We weathered the storm," Stalock said. "We did a great job going into the second period at 0-0, got our legs under us and then we took off."

Stalock stopped 18 shots in the opening period and had no chance on Monahan's tying goal in the final moments of the second period, posting 25 saves through two and 35 on the night.

"He was huge," Boudreau said. "The first five minutes, they could have had two, they came out of the gate playing hard. That's how he played in Carolina and he didn't get rewarded. Tonight, he got rewarded."


Loose Pucks

• The Wild improved to a 12-5-2 record in its last 19 games against Calgary. The Wild's 87 all-time points against the Flames are its fourth-most against any NHL team 

• Stalock improved to 2-1-1 with a 2.22 GAA and a .932 SV% in four career starts with the Wild dating back to the end of last season.

Mikko Koivu assisted on Spurgeon's winning goal, extending his point streak to five games.

• Suter had one goal and two assists for his ninth career three-point game. 

• Minnesota has scored a power-play goal in five consecutive games.

• Smith made 28 saves for Calgary.

• Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie had a pair of assists.


He Said It

"We haven't had much success in the third period and I think when we started to play with a little confidence, hold onto the puck and make some plays, I think it started to get into the game that we wanted to play." -- Wild defenseman Ryan Suter


They Said It

"We did a lot of good things in tonight's game. We carried the play for most of the game. Their goalie played really well, made some big saves for them. A couple posts and it's a different game." -- Flames goaltender Mike Smith


Dan's Three Stars

* Alex Stalock

** Jared Spurgeon

*** Ryan Suter

Video: Spurgeon, Suter power Wild to 4-2 win against Flames

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