The Minnesota Wild defeated the Calgary Flames 3-0 Tuesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Wild can point to special teams, goaltending and timely goals for the victory.
It was nearly perfect on special teams’ opportunities. Dany Heatley redirected a pass from Mikko Koivu in low slot into the net for a power play goal on one of the two opportunities the Wild had with the man advantage.
On the opposite side, the Wild killed all seven Flames power play chances, extending its streak to 21 straight penalty kills during its win streak. The Wild were assested nine penalties for 32 minutes, while the Flames had four penalties for 14 minutes. Referees Dennis LaRue and Tom Kowal did everything they could to help the Flames with several soft penalty calls and two horrible calls, including a ridiculous head butting match penalty on Nick Johnson.
After the game, Wild head coach Mike Yeo said he disagreed with the call on Johnson and that he was most disappointed in that Jarome Iginla started the fight and called the head butt penalty. He also said that he saw a player protecting himself. He saw it correctly and I find it hard to believe the league will not rescind the call. A match penalty comes with an automatic suspension, but the league can rescind a call thus negating the suspension.
The Flames (6-7-1) took advantage of the power play opportunities to finish with a 41-26 shots on goal advantage for the game.
Niklas Backstrom had to make several spectacular saves to preserve the shut out. He hadn’t played in a game since Oct. 27 and still looked like one of the league’s best. He improved to 5-0-0 with a no decision because of injury in his last six starts in Calgary. His goals against average is 0.52 with a .984 save percentage and three shutouts there.
The Wild (8-3-3) scored the first goal early in the first on a redirection by Darroll Powe on a shot by Johnson at the side boards.
Guillaume Latendresse scored his fourth goal of the season on an empty net with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game to cap the scoring. Heatley assisted on Latendresse’s third goal in as many games.
No. 3 – Dany Heatley. The Wild forward recorded a goal and an assist.
No. 2 – Nick Johnson. The Wild forward was unjustly given an early shower, but was the best player on the ice (beside the goaltender) when he was out there. He recorded an assist on the Wild’s first goal.
No. 1 – Niklas Backstrom. The Wild goaltender stopped all 41 shots he faced, including numerous incredible stops.
Wild 1 1 1 – 3
Flames 0 0 0 – 0
First Period – 1, Minnesota, Powe 1 (Johnson), 5:35. Penalties – Staubitz, Min, major (fighting), 6:31; Jackman, Cgy, major (fighting), 6:31; Staubitz, Min (hooking), 14:24.
Second Period – 2, Minnesota, Heatley 5 (Koivu, Zidlicky), 12:47 (pp). Penalties – Prosser, Min (hooking), 2:52; Falk, Min (high sticking), 7:19; Stajan, Cgy (holding), 11:37; Johnson, Min, major (fighting), 13:41; Johnson, Min, match (head butting), 13:41, (served by Bouchard); Iginla, Cgy, major (fighting), 13:41; Zidlicky, Min (interference), 18:51.
Third Period – 3, Minnesota, Latendresse 4 (Heatley, Prosser), 19:22 (en). Penalties – Scandella, Min (hooking), 5:22; Tanguay, Cgy (holding), 10:15; Gillies, Min (boarding), 13:16.
Shots on goal – Minnesota 5-9-12 26. Calgary 15-12-14 41.
Goalies – Minnesota, Backstrom (41-41). Calgary, Kiprusoff (23-25). A – 19,289. Referees – Dennis LaRue, Tom Kowal. Linesmen – Lonnie Cameron, Brad Lazarowich.