Wild 4, Flames 3
Minnesota gave up a lot to get Jason Pominville from the Buffalo
Sabres at the NHL trade deadline. The move has paid off.
Pominville has four goals in six games since joining the Wild,
including two Monday night as Minnesota snapped a three-game losing
streak with a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.
”It’s nice coming into a group that’s committed to winning and
that’s showed some consistency throughout the season. It’s
definitely nice to be a part of that,” said Pominville, whose goal
at 11:13 of the second gave the Wild a 2-0 lead heading to the
Pominville spent seven seasons with the Sabres but was on the
verge of missing the playoffs for a second straight year when the
Wild packaged two prospects and two draft picks to acquire the
30-year-old right wing.
”The last couple years, we were kind of on the outside trying
to get in and now it’s the other way around where we’re in the
playoff picture, trying to hang on and climb in the standings,”
Minnesota moved past St. Louis into sixth place in the Western
Conference. The Wild also pulled three points behind Northwest
Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard also scored for Minnesota,
which began a three-game road trip that continues Tuesday night at
Edmonton. Niklas Backstrom had 20 stops to improve to 21-12-3.
Jiri Hudler, Sven Baertschi and Ben Hanowski – making his NHL
debut – scored for Calgary.
With some veterans traded away and others like Alex Tanguay and
Matt Stajan injured, the Flames dressed a lineup comprised mostly
of young players.
”They’re all learning, they’re all playing hard. The number one
thing is obviously is the work ethic and getting them to know the
speed of the game,” veteran Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano said.
”For the most part, they’ve all been great and it’s up to us older
guys, we can’t make some of the mistakes we’re making.”
The latest rookie to be inserted was Hanowski, 22, one of two
U.S. college players the Flames acquired, along with a 2013 first
round draft pick, in the March 27 trade that sent Jarome Iginla to
Hanowski was signed by the Flames on Friday after St. Cloud
State got knocked out of the NCAA Frozen Four semifinal on
Thursday. He arrived in Calgary on Sunday, practiced with the team
for the first time Monday morning, and then was in the starting
lineup against his home state’s NHL team.
His goal came at 11:19 of the third period, pulling the Flames
to 4-2. He banged in the puck from the top of the crease after it
was centered by Mikael Backlund.
”It was a special moment and I’ll always remember it,” said
Hanowski, who most of the night played on a line with Mike
Cammalleri and Roman Horak. ”To score in the NHL is something you
do in your backyard and in the summer playing road hockey with your
buddies so to finally do it, is pretty special for a lot more
people up here that helped me get to this point.”
Standing in front of his locker surrounded by throngs of media,
Hanowski admitted it had been a nerve-wracking day.
”Tough to get any sleep in the day, nerves going a little
bit,” he said. ”It was exciting but at the same time, it’s kind
of nice just to get through the first game and move onto the next
one and hopefully just keep getting better every day.”
The Flames drew to within one when Baertschi scored his second
goal in as many games with 39 seconds left and the goalie pulled.
But that’s as close as Calgary got.
”Obviously it’s a big win,” said Koivu. ”It’s a big road trip
for us and you always want to start on a good note and we did that
tonight. It was a good battle but we were just a little bit
After giving up a goal to Hudler 3:42 into the third period,
Bouchard restored the Wild’s two-goal cushion at 3-1, scoring 11
”At this point in the season, those two points are just so
important,” said Minnesota center Matt Cullen, who returned from
missing six games with an injury. ”You can analyze it, you can
look at it, it wasn’t necessarily a pretty game but the bottom line
is we got out of here with two points.”
Joey MacDonald had 23 saves while making his third start in a
row with Miikka Kiprusoff still nursing a minor injury sustained in
his last start.
Koivu got the Wild on the scoreboard first, just 2:17 into the
first period. Pominville doubled the lead at 11:13 of the second
period, knocking in a rebound of Ryan Suter’s slap shot that was
deflected wide off the end boards.
Pominville added his second goal – 14th of the season – with a
wicked one-timer from the slot at 5:06 of the third to make it
NOTES: Glencross returned to the lineup after missing one game
with the flu. … Calgary dropped to 1-14-0 when trailing after one
period. … Pominville got his first goals against the Flames in
seven career games. Calgary had been the only NHL team he hadn’t
scored against. … Calgary has two more games left on a three-game
homestand before playing their final four games on the road.