It was just one game. It was just one game. Maybe we just need to keep on hearing about it and maybe we’re just not used to this right now.
The Minnesota Wild were having a dream season before the halfway point this season. Full of beatdowns on larger opponents and some games that made them seem like juggernauts. But now, with three consecutive losses on their Canadian road trip, nothing feels safe and this team just feels extremely stale heading into a crucial part of their season.
Less than a month before the trade deadline and while just last week there were conversations on whether or not the Wild should go all-in this season, that sort of talk seems to be long gone after losing to the Calgary Flames by a score of 7-3.
Potential transactions aside, the Wild were just not able to put in a full effort in Calgary tonight; no matter the period of the amount of players on the ice (there was a lot of special teams action in this one) Minnesota were just found to be flat-footed and frustrating to watch. Nothing was really clean of executed well. Clogged up neutral zones turned into prime scoring chances for the Flames. The home team played a very good and complete game against a team that is suddenly finding themselves stuck in the mud.
It was a very typical Bad Minnesota Wild Game. They came out hot, scoring within the first couple of minutes by way of a Frederick Gaudreau little deflection.
FREDDY G!!!! A deflection off of Merrill's shot and it's 1-0 MIN. pic.twitter.com/zKIMnB6Fdz— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) February 27, 2022
But then, the Flames started piling it on, with three straight goals in the remainder of the first period to have the Wild losing by a score of 3-1 after 20 minutes. It was a complete trainwreck of a period besides the goal as well. The Flames had a 32-7 shot attempt advantage; 16-1 advantage in scoring chances; 18-4 for shots on goal — it was just domination for the eventual victors.
This put Minnesota in way too deep of a hole to ever recover from and not even just considering the three-goal lead. Just the way to comeback in any form after experiencing that amount of offense is unimaginable — and seemingly impossible to just switch it on for the Wild.
They at least tried to do that, and put on a better showing in the second period, playing a fairly even 20 minutes, but it just still wasn’t enough to overcome and convert those chances into actual goals. Hell, the Flames ended up scoring another two to make it 5-1 heading into the second intermission.
And, again, in very typical Wild fashion this season, they kept us engaged with two late-game goals. Giving us a little hint of hope that they can possibly pull of yet another magical comeback and pry a point out of this miserable performance.
hey! a goal! Boldy grabs the loose puck off the defensive faceoff and hands it to Bjugstad for a goal. 5-2 CGY. pic.twitter.com/7M8sO8Kned— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) February 27, 2022
KIRILL KAPRIZOV. WHAT AN ANGLE. pic.twitter.com/eOWKxC9B7G— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) February 27, 2022
Nick Bjugstad got his fifth goal of the season, and Kirill Kaprizov scored another incredible goal for his 24th.
But that was all the magic we were going to see for the Wild offense. The Flames scored two empty-net goals to finish off their opponents by way of 7-3.
In theory it was a rollercoaster game, with streaks of goals coming from both teams, but it was just an overwhelming game from Calgary. They controlled every aspect of it aside from a couple slips that the Wild pounced on. A complete performance that left Minnesota stunned.
Now, the Wild have lost three straight, five of their last six games, and just appear to be directionless. It’s going to be an interesting couple of weeks with the Flames coming back to St. Paul on Monday, and the Wild facing a decent homestand.
Can the Wild shut down the Flames’ top line?
After 60 minutes, their top line scored just one goal (minor celebration) and was on the ice for 60 percent of the shot attempts at 5-on-5, but also had over 81 percent of the expected goals during that same game state. I mean, overall, it wasn’t a dominant performance from the trio, but it was just kind of what you expect when your team wins a game 7-3.
Can the Wild get one past Markstrom early?
Hey! Yes, they did actually do that with Gaudreau’s goal happening early in the first period...but that’s all they ended up doing in the first half. At least it’s something, but the Flames netminder shut the door for the rest of the way, no matter what team had the better scoring chances. Not a good look for the Wild’s offense.