Minnesota Wild 4-0 Calgary Flames
This Wild team just doesn't let you know what's going on, does it?
The building got loud in a hurry tonight as Miikka Kiprusoff, he of the 24 career wins over the Wild, couldn't stop the Wild onslaught. The WIld took advantage of a Daymond Langkow tripping penalty as Andre Brunette redirected home a great shot by Marek Zidlicky. The power play marker sparked the crowd and the Wild as 29 seconds later Cal Clutterbuck took a pass from Eric Belanger and wristed it past Kiprusoff. This looked to chase Kipper early, but after a "pep-talk" from Mike Keenan, Kipper came right back, missing only three seconds. However, the pep-talk didn't seem to have the effect for which Keenan was hoping. At 14:10 of the first period, Owen Nolan rifled home a centering pass from Antti Miettinen, putting the Wild up 3-0 and sending the undermanned Flames to the locker room wondering what the hell just happened.
The second period was, for the most part, uneventful. The Wild expertly killed off three penalties in the period and went into the third up 3-0 still.
In the third period, the Wild seemed to open the game up a bit, which was surprising. They were forechecking aggressively, killing penalties aggressively, and completely dominating the Flames. Calgary had only 2 shots in the first 12:45 of the third as the Wild completely controlled the flow of the game. They had scoring chance after scoring chance, missing the open net by inches time and again. Nolan, Gaborik and Brunette each could have scored three times in the third, and it seemed like they were snakebitten until Marian Gaborik finally wristed home a nasty shot that seemingly went through Kiprusoff. Gaborik simply raised a hand weakly into the air to say "finally. God, what do I have to do?"
At that point, the crowd filtered out as the WIid led 4-0 with five minutes left in the game. Calgary tried to mount a bit of a comeback, with six shots in the final five minutes, but Niklas Backstrom, Martin Skoula, Nick Schultz and Kim Johnsson kept clearing the zone and keeping the shutout in tact.
Now, Minnesota finds itself two points back of 8th place St. Louis, and still in the hunt. However, they face an uphill task as they travel to Detroit on Sunday at 11:30 on NBC.
Hockey Wilderness Three Stars
- Andrew Brunette (1 G)
- Niklas Backstrom (27 shots, 27 saves)
- Martin Skoula (1 A)
Questions to Answer
- There were about 2500 no-shows against Vancouver, will tonight be better? Once again the announced attendance was 18,568, but it was more like 16,000-ish in the seats.
- Do the Flames fight for their Northwest Division lives? They seemed out of it all night, though their injuries couldn't have helped.
- Will Gaborik continue to showcase himself for a nice, fat contract? He had five scoring chances, including four 2-on-1's with Brunette, but finally got the goal on a seeing-eye wrister through Kipper.
- Can the Wild find the back of the net and keep us hanging on? 3-0 in the first period and control of the game throughout. Nicely done gentlemen.
- Should I have the giant bratwurst tonight or the pulled pork sandwich? We ended up having the fish & chips, cheese curds and helmet sundae. They had neither the pulled pork nor the giant kielbasa on the club level.
- The Wild now find themselves two points behind St. Louis for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
- Cal Clutterbuck’s goal was his first in 30 games.
- Calgary is 0/24 on the power play in its recent slump.
Jacques Lemaire Press Conference
Niklas Backstrom Interview
Andrew Brunette Interview