Smith shuts out Wild

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports -

CAL­GARY — Mike Smith pumped his fist af­ter a 31-save shutout for the Cal­gary Flames in a 2-0 win over the vis­it­ing Min­nesota Wild on Thurs­day.

Cal­gary’s goal­tender earned his se­cond shutout of the sea­son, the 38th of his ca­reer, and im­proved to 5-0 in his last five ap­pear­ances.

“That’s the only time of the game I can cel­e­brate, is when we win the game,” Smith said. “It’s al­ways nice, es­pe­cially in a close game to hear the horn go off at the end and get the two points.

“I could hon­estly care less about the shutout. It’s just a bonus, but I’m more cel­e­brat­ing be­cause that’s the only time I can in a game.”

Elias Lind­holm scored twice for his 14th goal and 15th goals of the sea­son. The Swede has 32 points in 29 games in his first sea­son as a Flame.

His ca­reer sea­son-high is 17 goals for the Carolina Hur­ri­canes in 2014-15.

Johnny Gau­dreau and Cal­gary cap­tain Mark Gior­dano as­sisted on both Lind­holm goals Thurs­day.

“We find ways to score. It’s good for us and good for the team,” Lind­holm said. “Smitty made some huge saves for us at key mo­ments so I have to thank him for this one.”

Cal­gary topped the Pa­cific Di­vi­sion at 18-9-2 and im­proved to 13-2 this sea­son when scor­ing the first goal of the game. The Flames are at home to the Nashville Preda­tors on Satur­day.

Min­nesota (15-11-2) dropped to 1-2 on a road trip in which the Wild face five dif­fer­ent Cana­dian teams in a row for the first time in fran­chise his­tory. Min­nesota is in Ed­mon­ton on Fri­day.

Wild start­ing goal­tender Alex Stalock stopped 18 shots in the loss.

“I thought we were sloppy,” Min­nesota head coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Right from the get-go they had two re­ally good chances in the first five min­utes.

“I al­ways think for the most part the ef­fort was there, but a lot of our guys weren’t han­dling the puck well. Alex played a re­ally good game and kept us in there, es­pe­cially at the be­gin­ning.”

The Flames had ral­lied for a 9-6 win in Colum­bus on Tues­day when Cal­gary trailed the Blue Jack­ets 4-1 early in the se­cond pe­riod.

Smith re­lieved David Rit­tich af­ter one pe­riod and stopped 13 shots in the win in Colum­bus.

Smith held off Min­nesota on a pair of power-play chances in the se­cond pe­riod and an­other to end Thurs­day’s game when the Wild had two at­tack­ers with an empty net.

“He was good tonight,” Boudreau said. “When he’s on, he’s re­ally on. Every­body knows that. When he’s off, he’s re­ally off.”

Smith got his shoul­der on a point-blank shot from Min­nesota’s Matt Dumba, the top-scor­ing de­fence­man in the NHL, dur­ing a se­cond-pe­riod power-play for a key stop in the game.

“I think the guys have bailed me out a lot this year so I think it’s nice to make some saves and con­trib­ute on the team’s suc­cess,” the 36-year-old vet­eran said.

Smith checked Wild lead­ing goal scorer Zach Parise in the se­cond pe­riod when the goalie came out of his net to play the puck.

“I wasn’t try­ing to hit him, I was just try­ing to pro­tect the puck,” Smith said. “They teach you that in mi­nor hockey, to turn your back and get your big butt out.”

Dumba steam­rolled Cal­gary cen­tre Mikael Back­lund in the fi­nal minute of the game. Flames for­ward Ryan Lomberg went af­ter Dumba, which re­sulted in a Cal­gary penalty.

“I think it’s show­ing no re­spect for the player and for the game,” Lind­holm said of the Dumba check.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.