The Flames and Wild were up to their old tricks last night as the Northwest Division rivals played nearly two periods of scoreless hockey before Kyle Brodziak beat a sprawling Leland Irving to put the visitors up 1-0 with under two minutes remaining in the second period.
Jiri Hudler beat Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom on a 2-on-1 with Roman Cervenka early in the third period to tie the game at one, and that was the way it would stay throughout the remainder of the final frame, as the third-period was a fairly cautious, low-shooting affair. Overtime was much of the same with each team registering only one shot a piece, so we would go to a shootout.
In the skills competition it was no contest, as Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu both easily beat Irving while Hudler was the only player to tally for the Flames, who evidently thought that they did not need the extra point when Bob Hartley sent out Blair Jones as the first shooter in a purely Brent Sutter-esque coaching move. Oy vey.
Anyways, the Flames lost another one to the skills comp, pick up another Bettman point, and as iceberg273 pointed out in last night's game thread, they are near the bottom of the pile when it comes to their success rate in the tie-breaker, with only 26 SO wins since 2005-06. The only teams worse than the Flames in the shootout are the Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, and the Carolina Hurricanes. The game was otherwise alright except for the home team's futile powerplay and seeming inability to hit the net. They seemed to spend a lot of time in their own zone and again struggled with turning over pucks just inside their own blueline, resulting in a few dangerous chances for Minnesota, but otherwise kept the Wild mostly to the perimeter. Leland Irving was slightly less busy than he was on Saturday against the Canucks and looked better as a result. Matt Stajan was kicking ass and taking names in the faceoff circle, winning 63.6% of his draws. He was a penalty-killing machine, playing over three minutes shorthanded, and finished the night +1. Snaps for you, Matty Franchise!
The Flames made a couple announcements/roster moves of note today as Ben Street was sent back down to Abbotsford and Paul Byron was called up, prompting me to wonder who Roman Horak wronged in the Flames organization. Byron has six goals and 15 points in 35 games with the Heat so far this season.
The Flames also announced that Mike Cammalleri will be back in the lineup on Wednesday night against the Dallas Stars, which is a godsend after the astounding offensive futility displayed by this team in the past two games, and that Miikka Kiprusoff will miss about two more weeks with a Grade-Two MCL strain. The strain is reportedly not as severe as the one that will keep Mikael Backlund out for 4-6 weeks. In the meantime, the Flames are now in the midst of a bizarre goalie controversy after Jay Feaster hinted that picking up Joey MacDonald on waivers was part of the plan all along. Errr...right.
Lastly, John Gaudreau and his Boston College Eagles won the Bean Pot Tournament for the fourth consecutive year last night, as BC beat Northeastern 6-3. Flames prospect Bill Arnold scored a goal and an assist while Gaudreau had two goals and an assist in the winning effort. Snaps for you, Bill Arnold and John Gaudreau! For a more detailed recap and highlights of the game check out BC Interruption.
See you all tomorrow.