The Minnesota Wild spent almost $200 million to sign Zach Parise and Ryan Suter this past offseason. So far, the investment has generated mixed results.
Perhaps Parise’s goal 27 seconds into overtime in Tuesday night’s comeback 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames will get Minnesota going.
”If we thought that we were just going to sign a couple players and all of a sudden we’ve arrived, and they were going to open the gates, and here we are, a playoff team, that’s not reality,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. ”It’s hard. You have to do a lot of things to be a winner, to find yourself at that point.”
Jason Zucker scored for Minnesota with 4:19 left in regulation to send it to overtime.
Calgary’s Mark Giordano was then given a delay-of-game penalty with 43 seconds to go. The penalty carried over into the extra period, and Parise beat goalie Joey MacDonald for the 4-on-3 winner. Parise’s goal was only Minnesota’s fourth in its last 41 power-play opportunities.
Alex Tanguay scored for the Flames and MacDonald stopped 28 shots.
The Flames went 1-for-7 with the man advantage, and failed to put Minnesota away when given several chances.
Calgary wasted a five-minute power play in the second and a four-minute advantage in the third. It didn’t get a shot on either chances and could barely get set up in Minnesota’s zone.
”When you waste nine minutes of power play without even getting a shot on net, you don’t deserve to win,” said Flames coach Bob Hartley, who abruptly ended his postgame news conference after two questions. ”We could have put them away and we didn’t.”
Niklas Backstrom made 20 saves for the Wild.
The Flames took nine of the game’s first 10 shots and led 1-0 after Tanguay batted in a shot that popped up and out of Backstrom’s glove.
It wasn’t the way the Wild wanted to start after losing to Calgary on Saturday.
”We know we need to be better. We can’t come out flat after losing to these guys in their building,” said Devin Setoguchi, who set up Zucker’s goal. ”For them to come in and run us out of our building, that’s not good enough.”
Parise appeared to tie it later in the first period, but replays showed that Giordano stopped the puck before it completely crossed the red line and the goal was waived off.
The Wild’s tough luck continued in the second.
Mikko Koivu had two power-play shots ring off the pipe and Minnesota didn’t score despite controlling play most of the period.
The Flames got their first shot to take a two-goal lead when Charlie Coyle was given a five-minute major for elbowing Matt Stajan with just over five minutes left in the second.
They Wild killed the penalty and Calgary’s power-play frustrations started.
”It was just our execution, plain and simple,” Hartley said. ”We got outworked. You can’t win a battle by yourself, especially when you’re on the power play. We got one guy battling and four guys watching. It just doesn’t happen like this.”
Minnesota had an early power-play opportunity in the third, but didn’t score. In fact, Stajan had a short-handed breakaway, but was turned away by Backstrom.
Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin took a four-minute penalty for high-sticking later in the third, but again Calgary failed to score and let the Wild hang around.
Finally, Parise scored and ended Minnesota’s power-play rut.
”It was frustrating. You start to wonder,” Parise sad. ”I think we did a really good job of just shooting in the power play, and we hit posts. Fortunately, it was able to come through.”
Calgary failed to go over .500 for the first time this season. It has been outscored 20-5 in games where it had a chance to eclipse the .500 mark.
”You never want to say you didn’t work hard enough, but we got out-worked,” Jarome Iginla said.
Notes: Cal Clutterbuck was placed on injured reserve with a thigh contusion. The Wild forward missed his second consecutive game and will not travel on Minnesota’s upcoming two-game road trip. … Tanguay is fifth all-time with 46 points against the Wild. Teammate Jarome Iginla is first with 65. … One of the loudest cheers of the night from the Wild home crowd came in the second period, when it was announced that the Minnesota Gophers upset No. 1 Indiana in men’s basketball.