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Wild drops season finale to Niklas Backstrom and Flames 2-1

NHL: Calgary Flames at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild welcomed Niklas Backstrom back to St. Paul for what will likely be his last career NHL game. He provided the show, while the Wild provided the letdown. Making 35 saves on 36 shots, Backstrom was tested early and often, but stood made some truly great saves to keep his team in the game. He held his team in the game just long enough for Brandon Bollig and Patrick Sieloff 31 seconds apart to take the victory from St. Paul on last time.

Minnesota heads into the playoffs on a five game losing streak. The two teams skated to a scoreless tie after one period. The Wild out-shot the Flames 13-5 in the period as the Wild looked to jump on Backstrom like they had on March 24th, when the Wild scored early and often en route to a 6-2 victory. Backstrom was good on his angles and moved really well laterally to make some stone-cold robberies.

The Wild kept shooting in the second period. Out-shooting the Flames 18-6 and not giving up a shot until the 9 minute mark of the period, the Wild was only able to muster one goal by Zac Dalpe. Dalpe, scoring his first of the season, took a back-hander that beat Backstrom before he could get set under the left pad. The period also got a bit rough. Seven penalties were called int he period; five of them were roughing minors. The Wild got five power play opportunities in the game and couldn't cash in on any of them. The power play has gone dry the last five games, and the 0-for-5 on Saturday doesn't exactly exude confidence heading into the playoffs. Darcy Kuemper, in a planned move, took over after the 10 minute mark in the second.

To start the third period, the shot count was 31-11 in favor of the Wild. But with a one goal lead, for some reason the Wild thought they could sit on that until time ran out. Minnesota had only one shot on goal through nine minutes of the third period. They let the Flames back into the game by not keeping the pressure on in the offensive zone. This graph courtesy of tells you exactly how this game went and why they Wild lost a one goal lead.

Brandon Bollig scored on a snipe of a shot that beat Darcy Kuemper over the shoulder from the right circle. Thirty-one seconds later, Patrick Sieloff scored his first of the season as a fluttering shot jumped and skipped past Kuemper and into the net. The goal gave the Flames the lead for good as the Wild couldn't mount a comeback. In fact, in a brilliant call by our own The_Noogie, the Wild took a terrible Too Many Men penalty as they tried to get Kuemper off for the extra attacker.

Minnesota finishes with a 38-33-11 record - good for 87 points and the 2nd Wild Card in the Western Conference. They have scored 216 goals, while giving up 206 on the season. Minnesota will face the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Quarterfinals