Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 4-3 overtime loss against the Calgary Flames:
It was a sour end to a four-game road trip tonight in Calgary. After trailing for most of the game, the Wild did earn a point on the heels of a third period comeback. After a forgettable first two periods, the Wild buckled down and picked up the pace in the final frame. If the last two games have showed us anything, there is no quit in this team, going 1-1-2 on its four-game road trip.
Dany Heatley got things going, scoring his 10th of the season, by jamming home a bouncing biscuit on the power play. Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund both extended point streaks with assists.
Heatley was in on the game-tying goal, coming in on the rush and throwing a backhander on goal. Kyle Brodziak tracked the rebound into the corner and fed Keith Ballard, who jumped into the play and finished for his second goal of the season and road trip.
Unfortunately, Mikael Backlund ended the Wild’s bid for two points, knocking home a bouncing puck 2:25 into overtime. Calgary used both goaltenders tonight to slow down the Wild, as starter Karri Ramo left the contest in the first period with a lower-body injury. Reto Berra came in for the win.
It was a physical first period between these two former Northwest Division rivals. Of course, looking at the score sheet, you might’ve thought the rough stuff was only flowing one way. The Flames were credited with 10 hits, compared to the Wild’s two; to say there was a little bit of discrepancy from the home team stat-takers would be an understatement. The Flames might’ve finished more checks, but the Wild had a lot more than two, I promise you.
Things nearly came to a head when Matt Cooke took a high stick to the face. The forward finished a hit on Flames defenseman TJ Brodie. Defenseman Chris Butler tried to jump Cooke, but the veteran saw him coming and engaged him before he was able to land any punches. Cooke was called for interference and Butler was called for roughing.
Obviously, Cooke was fired up, but he was able to channel it all into one shot in the second period. With the Wild shorthanded, the Flames made an errant pass at the blue line. Cooke was off to the races. It looked as if he’d have a two-on-two with Brodziak, but the center went for a change. No problem, Cooke kept the puck and hammered home an absolute laser high over Berra's glove.
It was Cooke’s ninth of the season and third goal in his last five games. The goal moved him into a tie for fifth in goals with Nino Niederreiter. Cooke brings his two-way play every night and has been a cog in the Wild’s penalty kill this season, which killed 12 of 13 penalties on its four-game road trip. It was the club’s second shorthanded goal of the season.
It will be good for the Wild to return back to the State of Hockey after this taxing four-game road trip, which it was away from home for eight days. The club skates in two home games, Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Thursday versus the Nashville Predators, before taking a two and a half week break for the Olympics.
Tomorrow will be a much-needed day off for the club (and its staff, including me) to rest, recover and watch the Super Bowl. WildTV will have a Super Bowl video posted before the matchup between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, with a few of the players sharing their thoughts on the big game and more.
Every time I’ve visited Calgary, the game has been a “theme” night. Unfortunately, I left my boots at home because it was Western Night. There were plenty of 10-gallon hats in the stands and the club’s game operations played country music all night. When the ice girls, who were dressed in flannel, came out they tossed white cowboy hats into the stands. In the second intermission, there was a country swing dance competition; it was a hoot and hollering, boot-stomping good time.
Canadian country music star Paul Brandt sang both National Anthems, followed by a six-gun salute out on the ice. The six shooters popped some pretty loud caps and there was gunpowder all over the corner. The ice cleaning crew had to come out and scrape the powder off the ice, delaying the game momentarily. It was a great night for country music and fans of Daisy Dukes.