Melancholy hello, State of Hockey Legion.
Before we get started with tonight’s game coverage, I’d like to send my regards to those impacted by the horrible events in Boston. It was hard to put much thought into tonight’s Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames game, while sitting in the hotel and, like many of you, watching the news unfold on television. But, the people of Boston will come out of this stronger and closer than ever, and rebound from this despicable act.
Tonight the Wild continues the push down the regular season against the Flames and will have a welcome addition to the lineup. Center Matt Cullen returns to the lineup after missing the last six games with a lower-body injury. He’ll skate between Jason Zucker and Devin Setoguchi.
Goaltender Niklas Backstrom will get the nod in net. He’s been stellar lately, posting a 1.24 GAA and a .948 SV% over his last four games. Against the Flames this season, he’s been just as good, going 2-1-0 with a 1.30 goals against average and a .944 save percentage in three starts.
Out of the lineup tonight as healthy scratches are forward Mikael Granlund, and defensemen Justin Falk and Nate Prosser. Zenon Konopka has a lower-body injury and didn’t travel with the team. Josh Harding is still on Injured Reserve as he receives treatment for multiple sclerosis.
As always, follow the game live on Twitter via @mnwildLIVE.
Time for liftoff!
Period 1 - MIN 1, CGY 0
The Wild got off to the good road start it wanted, scoring the game's first goal just 2:17 after puck drop.
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Mikko Koivu took a Zach Parise rebound at the side of the net and had a near open net, but a Calgary defender denied the initial attempt. But the Wild captain stuck with the play and banged home a second attempt. Tom Gilbert was credited for the second assist on the play.
Minnesota finished off the solid road period, but killing nearly all of a two-minute penalty. The club will start the second shorthanded, but only for 12 seconds.
Period 2 - MIN 2, CGY 0
The Wild added to its lead in the middle frame and built some momentum, outshooting the Flames, 12-3.
Jason Pominville scored his third goal in a Wild sweater. Ryan Suter took a Flames turnover and fired the puck at the net. The biscuit caromed off the end boards to Pominville, who was stationed at the side of the net. He pulled the puck from behind the goal line and jammed it home. Pierre-Marc Bouchard added a second assist on the play.
The Wild will start the third with 2:28 minutes of power play time, after a four minute high-sticking penalty by Mark Giordano on Charlie Coyle. Minnesota tries to put this thing away early in the final frame and I think they can do it with a PP goal.
Period 3 - MIN 4, CGY 3
The Wild closed out the third period with a bit of a scare, but held on for a big win.
Calgary pulled within one a pretty passing play, resulting in a Jiri Hudler goal. The forward finished a tic-tac-toe passing play in transition from Roman Horak and Mikael Backlund.
Pierre Marc-Bouchard scored to give the Wild another two-goal lead. He took a pass from Devin Setoguchi and fired a quick wrist shot pass MacDonald in the slot.
Jason Pominville scored his second of the game on a one-time blast. He came onto the ice after a line change and flew into the slot. Matt Cullen, who was standing along the half-wall, found him streaking down the middle of the ice and Pominville made no mistake about it. Jonas Brodin picked up the other assist on the play.
Little Falls native Ben Hanowski made his NHL debut for Calgary tonight and added to the memory by scoring his first-career goal. He jammed home a loose puck from the crease. Assists went to Mikael Backlund and Curtis Glencross.
The Flames added a late goal from Sven Baertschi, but it wasn't enough as the Wild held out for the win.
Minnesota travels to Edmonton tonight and will finish the Alberta leg of the road trip tomorrow night against the Oilers.