Minnesota Wild 3 - 0 Calgary Flames
For Calgary perspective, and to be called a whiny idiot homer, please visit Matchsticks and Gasoline.
The Wild came into this game with something to prove. Despite a hot streak that saw four straight wins on the shoulders of Josh Harding, the first big road trip of the year is a time when a team can fall apart or come together. The Wild chose the latter.
The first period was ugly. The Wild were outplayed, out gunned, and simply awful in the opening frame. Down 15-5 in shots, the Wild pulled out of the first with a 1-0 lead, and there were inklings that the Flames were already frustrated and that Backstrom was in the zone, despite not playing in 12 days.
The second period... well, the second period, the game went of the rails. The Wild were handed five penalties, including two to Nick Johnson, who up to that point had been playing out of his mind. Not long after Dany Heatley scored on one of the two Wild power plays, Nick Johnson fought Jarome Iginla, and all seemed hunky dorey, right? Five minutes each, take your seats, boys, we'll see you after your rest.
Iginla complained to Tim Kowal, and Kowal made a call after the fact and ejected Johnson from the game, gave him the match penalty, all on a head butt call. The video is below, so you be the judge. I said it was a bad call and was informed I am a whiny idiot homer by the lead writer at our sister site. My bet? The match penalty is rescinded (they carry automatic suspensions if upheld). The video shows no head butt, although our friends in Alberta would disagree.
I've watched it, I don't see it. No one outside of Calgary seems to see it. But, hey, I'm a homer. So be it.
The Third was more of the same, with the Wild taking more penalties, including a joke of a boarding call against Colton Gillies. In total, the Wild faced 17 minutes of PK time, and the Flames couldn't muster a single goal. Guillaume Latendresse put in the empty netter to lock it down, and the Wild secured the 3-0 shutout.
Your Minnesota Wild are fourth in the NHL. Yes, really.
Whiny idiot homer, signing off.
The Bennett's Chop & Railhouse Stars of the Game:
1. Niklas Backstrom: 41 saves, Shutout
2. Dany Heatley: (1G, 1A)
3. Nick Schultz: Solid on the PK all night. Invisible on a night he needed to be.
Remember, when you begin and end your night at Bennett's, you're the star! Easy parking, drink and food specials and a free shuttle to and from the Xcel Energy Center. Check them out at http://bennettschopandrailhouse.com/.
- How does Backstrom look in his first start as the "backup?" Can't look much better than that.
- The defense has been very good. Does that continue? Yep. Very good.
- Can the Wild lock down Wild slayer Jarome Iginla? Well, except for his ability to call penalties, Iginla did nothing tonight.
- Riding high, fine as wine, do the Wild have a hangover? For the first period, yes.
- We're done looking for Zidlicky, who steps up to replace him? This one is up in the air, but Scandella certainly is making a case.