Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 3-2 overtime win against the Calgary Flames:
The Calgary Flames are becoming known around the National Hockey League for their third period heroics. However, like that annoying guy who’s always one-upping other people’s stories at a party, Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu outdid the Flames on their own turf in overtime.
Following a big save by Devan Dubnyk and a defensive stop by Matt Dumba (more on him in a bit), the Wild took the play the other way. On a three-on-three Charlie Coyle dropped the puck to Koivu, who faked a shot and moved to his left. The center fired the puck, which deflected off Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau and into the net. On Ash Wednesday, the hockey gods were on the Wild’s side.
Coming into tonight’s contest, the Flames had outscored opponents 72-38 in the third period. The team also earned 10 wins when trailing after 40 minutes. After leading throughout the contest and allowing the tying goal with 9:46 remaining in the third, the Wild dug in and won the contest in overtime.
For the second time since being recalled, defenseman Matt Dumba skated in his hometown of Calgary. Last time, he was recalled the day of the game and landed in the Stampede City as the Wild was wrapping up morning skate. This go-round he at least had a night to spend with friends and family. Yesterday, Dumba told the Lighthouse he was going home for a home-cooked meal.
The 20-year-old played a larger role in the contest, skating in 18:20 minutes and making a game-saving defensive play in overtime. Dumba saw an uptick in action after Jared Spurgeon took a puck in the face in the opening minutes of the first period and didn’t return. The young blueliner made a great defensive play on Wild’s team’s first goal, poke-checking Flames forward Mason Raymond, which directly led to Justin Fontaine’s goal.
Of course, Dumba scored the Wild’s second goal on an explosive play. With time expiring on a Flames penalty, he took a pass from Jonas Brodin at the D-zone blue line and rushed up the right side of the ice. He took a few strides inside the Calgary zone and used defenseman Mark Giordano as a screen, ripping a snap shot over the blocker of Calgary netminder Jonas Hiller.
With less than four minutes left in the third period and the score knotted at two, the defenseman made a diving play to break up a Flames 3-on-1 chance. Wonder what he had for dinner last night and if he packed a couple of to-go boxes, because whatever his mother cooked seemed to work.
Forward Thomas Vanek was considered a game-time decision after sitting out practice yesterday with soreness. The Austrian skated this morning and said that he felt better as practice went on. Just in case, Minnesota recalled forward Michael Keranen from the Iowa Wild and he arrived this afternoon. Keranen took warmups, but Vanek was ready for the game.
Whatever ailment Vanek might have, it certainly isn’t affecting his hands. In the opening period, he set up the Wild’s first goal. The 31-year-old took a centering pass from Coyle, who was skating down the left wing. With a quick catch on the forehand, he sent a soft, backhand pass out of the reach of three Flames defenders and to Fontaine streaking to the net. Fontaine finished by flicking a change-up to the far side of the net past Hiller. Not only did the duo click on the goal, they connected on a sweet, in-stride high-five celebration.
Sometimes the hockey gods giveth and the hockey gods taketh away. And sometimes, they even things out. In the first period, Flames forward Jiri Hudler scored, redirecting a point shot from defenseman Dennis Wideman. The call on the ice was that Hudler’s stick was below the crossbar, but it was awfully close. So, the NHL Situation Room dialed Calgary and said it wanted a review. After inspection, the SitRoom called it a good goal. Maybe more so because it couldn’t overturn the call because it was too close to tell (Long editor’s note: When are they going to put a mini camera in the crossbar with a virtual line running parallel, like the NFL’s yellow first-down line or a virtual level? It’s the 21st century and I can get email on my phone while flying on an airplane? Where you at science?).
In the second period, the Flames were on the power play and pressing. Gaudreau took a high shot from the slot that Dubnyk gloved down. The netminder tried to cover the bobbling puck, but it squirted free just as the ref was blowing his whistle. Gaudreau knocked it into the open net and the crowd went nuts. The referee immediately waved off the goal.
Tickets behind the bench in a National Hockey League game can cost a pretty penny. For the price, fans behind the bench have some prime real estate to get a message across thanks to the power of television. Who can forget the Wild fan trolling the entire state of Wisconsin after the Packers lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game earlier this season? Well, tonight there were some Calgary fans behind the Wild bench that were trying to distract Head Coach Mike Yeo and the rest of the team. The Flames supporters took a page out of the Great Minnesota Get-Together and created a few Yeosies on a Stick.
Of course, there’s only one problem with their little arts and crafts project: I don’t think that’s Mike Yeo. After some quick investigative reporting with the Pioneer Press’s Chad Graff (a Google image search to find the picture in question), we determined it’s not Yeo. We don’t know who it is, actually. Maybe it’s a pic of Fake Mike Yeo.