'HOLM SWEET HOME!
FLAMES TAKE OUT WILD IN FOURTH-STRAIGHT WIN
An offensive display this was not.
But you really didn’t expect another 15-goal game, did you? Against the Minnesota Wild on a Thursday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome?
Still, just like Tuesday’s 9-6 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Calgary Flames delivered the same end result and captured their fourth straight victory with a 2-0 decision against the visitors from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Don’t look now, but Calgary is now 8-1-1 in its last 10 games and improved to 18-9-2 with the win.
Elias Lindholm accounted for both of Calgary’s goals, the second marker netted with just 1:13 elapsed in the third period — which padded the top line’s stats again, now having chipped in for 44 of the Flames’ 102 total goals scored this season.
Mike Smith produced his second shutout of the season, stopping 31 shots and improving to 5-0-0 in his last five appearances, a complete turnaround from a month ago.
“Outstanding,” said Flames head coach Bill Peters on Smith’s play. “He was real good, and I thought he was a big part of everything we did here tonight. He handled the puck real well. He alleviated some of their forecheck pressure.
“But the big thing is: huge saves and big times and real solid on the PK.”
The 36-year-old was excellent, steady and physically involved particularly in the second period, which saw him lay a bodycheck on Zach Parise behind the Flames net to create a turnover. His pals in front converted the play into a scoring chance, a perfectly executed passing play between Mark Giordano, Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, who just missed a tap-in.
Shortly after that, the Flames were killing off Noah Hanifin’s tripping penalty and Smith came up with back-to-back saves on local lad Matt Dumba, which elicited big cheers from the home crowd.
Speaking of Dumba, the former Red Deer Rebel, with 42.4 seconds remaining in the third period, delivered a crushing blow to Mikael Backlund, who immediately headed down the Flames’ tunnel toward the dressing room.
Ryan Lomberg, standing up for his teammate, skated down the entire length of the ice to tackle the Wild defender, which put the Wild on the power play for the dying seconds of the game.
When asked if Dumba’s hit was clean, Peters — who was steaming mad on the bench when the hit happened — rolled his eyes, scoffed, and referred to the final 3:20 when the Wild pulled their net.
“We created a turnover in the neutral zone and Backlund had the puck and got tripped — that’s a goal. It’s 3-0, game over,” Peters said. That’s where it should have ended … ref the whole game, play 60 minutes as a player, don’t put the whistle away as a ref … I think there was a trip on Backlund from (Mikael) Granlund.”
Regardless, there was no call on the play and Lomberg was tossed from the game.
The Flames were outshot 31-20 and blocked 11 shots to Minnesota’s 21. Still, Lindholm made it count on two of his three shots on net. His first goal came 50 seconds into the second period on a two-on-one with Gaudreau, who fed his right-winger at the perfect time and Lindholm made no mistake.
It was redemption after having a goal waved off at 13:16 of the first period when Gaudreau attempted to save a
Mike Smith deflects this slap shot by the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba.