Mikko Koivu stepped up for the Minnesota Wild when they needed
it most. They’re likely hoping for a repeat performance against the
Minnesota will look to snap a season-high three-game losing
streak at Xcel Energy Center on Monday night in the back end of a
home-and-home series with the Flames.
Koivu had a goal and two assists to help Minnesota avoid a third
consecutive loss overall with a 3-1 victory in Calgary on Saturday
“When you’re struggling a little bit it’s hard on everyone,”
said Koivu, who has nine points in his last his six games. “You
have to find a way to come out of it. You have to work as hard as
you can and just believe in yourself.”
The Wild (14-13-4), who won despite matching a season low with
16 shots, are 12-6-3 when their captain registers at least one
point and 5-1-0 when he scores a goal.
“Mikko was tremendous in the game. He was great. He stepped up,
and the rest of the team followed,” Wild coach Todd Richards said.
“I truly believe that teams follow their leaders. We have other
leaders on the team, but when you’re wearing the ‘C,’ that’s one of
“The team takes on your personality, takes on how you play the
Niklas Backstrom made 14 of his 28 saves in the third period and
improved to 6-1-1 with a 1.25 goals-against average in his last
eight games against Calgary.
Backstrom, though, is 0-2-1 in his last three home starts
overall, losing 3-2 in a shootout to the Flames on Dec. 3.
Saturday’s loss prevented Calgary (14-16-3) from a perfect
three-game homestand, and the team now plays three straight on the
road, where it has two wins in the last 11 games (2-6-3).
“We knew the importance of the game. They did, too,” said Flames
captain Jarome Iginla, who had a nine-game point streak snapped.
“They were coming off two losses. They were a very desperate team.
It’s not like we gave them a million chances. They were
“They got a power-play goal, and we didn’t capitalize on our
chances. In a tight game, that was the difference.”
The Flames are 18-2-1 against the Wild when Iginla scores at
least one goal. His 31 goals versus the Wild are his most against
any opponent, 13 more than Milan Hejduk and Daymond Langkow, who
are next on the list.
Calgary is averaging 2.2 goals on the road compared to 3.1 at
home, but failed to get on the board until late in the third
“We didn’t play the whole game like we played the last eight or
nine minutes,” said Matt Stajan, who scored his first goal in 19
games with 5:17 remaining. “If we played like that the whole game,
there’s not doubt how that game would have turned out.”
Miikka Kiprusoff allowed more than two goals for the first time
in five games, dropping to 7-12-1 in his last 20 starts. He is
0-4-0 with a 3.08 GAA in his last four visits to Minnesota.