Looking to win their sixth straight game, the Calgary Flames (25-12-5) visited the Minnesota Wild (20-20-3) on Wednesday atop the Northwest Division. Goaltending has been the key to Flames' success during the streak, allowing only five goals in as many games. They would look for continued success against the Wild.
Calgary, who are on the heals of 3-1 win over the predators, were in the midst of another great performance by Miikka Kiprusoff in net. Kiprusoff, who stopped 27 shots in Tuesday's game, would finally have any easier night against a Wild team that has only netted four goals in the last eight games, or so he thought.
The action began very quickly at Xcel Energy Center for the Flames, who scored their first goal of the game from a snapshot delivered by Olli Jockinen at 1:34. However, the Wild wouldn't stay behind for long.
After the penalty against Calgary by Mark Giordano for interference, Eric Belanger scored from 39 feet away, with the help of a tip in, on Finnish Olympian goaltender, Kiprusoff.
The Flames continued to struggle with penalties for the rest of the first period, but effective work by the PKU ended the first all tied up.
Calgary Flames 1, Minnesota Wild 1.
At the beginning of the second period, Minnesota controlled the entire tempo of play from the drop of the puck.
The heavily favored Flames gave up the first goal of the period to Kyle Brodziak of the Wild on a snapshot after sloppy passing and the lack of communication, giving Minnesota a 2-1 lead.
Calgary had one bright spot in the second period—the continued success of the penalty kill. Minnesota had opportunities following the goal on the power-play, but once again failed to score with an extra man.
Nearly seven minutes went by before Eric Belanger got himself back into the game with backhand goal from 16 feet to give him two for the night and the Wild a two-goal lead.
Calgary was clearly not playing with the aggressiveness that earned them a five-game winning streak, or the top spot in their division. They would look to increase their physicality in the third period.
Minnesota Wild 3, Calgary Flames 1.
In an attempt to salvage their streak, the Flames began the third period with an aggressive defensive attack and a determined offensive rush.
The Wild continued to baffle the Calgary defense, scoring their fourth goal of the game on a wrist shot from Cal Clutterbuck to seal their victory against the Flames.
Minnesota Wild 4, Calgary Flames 1.
The Flames look to maintain their first place position in the Northwest Division Friday against the Blue Jackets.