Road Reaction: Wild 3, Flames 2 (OT)
The Calgary Flames are one of the NHL’s best comeback teams and also dangerous in overtime. The Minnesota Wild overcame another Calgary rally.
Minnesota carried a 2-1 lead after the first period, but the Flames tied the score midway through the third. Each team earned a point, but the Wild took the extra point when Mikko Koivu scored early in overtime.
Koivu’s goal helped Minnesota climb within a point of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Wild trail the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings, who are tied for eighth, by one point.
Minnesota, which is now 9-1-1 since the All-Star break, scored first against Calgary on Wednesday and has scored the first goal in 10 of the last 11 games, winning nine of those games. The Wild have scored 20 first-period goals since Jan. 15, which ranks first in the NHL in that span.
1. Koivu, F, Wild: The game-winning goal stands out, but Koivu’s steady all-around play continued. Koivu scored his ninth goal of the season — his second game-winning goal of the season and his fourth career overtime tally — and had three shots on goal.
Koivu also potentially saved a goal late in the second period while backchecking. Calgary was pressuring with the advantage in numbers and Koivu came back into the defensive zone and sprawled out, knocking away a pass.
2. Matt Dumba, D, Wild: Back home in Calgary, Dumba continued his solid recent play. Dumba scored his third goal of the season and fourth of his career, giving Minnesota a first-period lead. He skated a career-high 18 minutes, 20 seconds. Dumba had three shots on goal, blocked two shots and was part of a strong defensive effort from Minnesota’s defensive corps.
Dumba made a couple crucial defensive plays — he helped save a potential game-winning goal in overtime before starting the breakout which led to Koivu’s game-winner — and head coach Mike Yeo called Wednesday’s game Dumba’s best as a professional.
3. Jonas Brodin, D, Wild: The defensive effort since the All-Star break can’t be mentioned without Brodin getting his credit. Brodin has been steady on the back end and is a team-best plus-14 this season. Brodin played 29:15, the most ice time he’s recorded since Dec. 13 and the second-most he’s played all season.
Brodin was a plus-1 with an assist, two shots and blocked five shots.
Seen: Jared Spurgeon left the game in the first period after taking an errant puck to the face and didn’t return. Spurgeon was only able to play 1:26. The onus was on the remaining five defenders, who stepped up in Spurgeon’s absence. Ryan Suter played more than 33 minutes. Brodin skated just under 30 minutes. Marco Scandella had over 23 minutes and Prosser skated 16:55 and tied Brodin with a team-high five blocked shots.
Yeo didn’t have an update on Spurgeon’s status after the game, only telling reporters Spurgeon was out with an upper-body injury and he’ll have more of an update Thursday after talking to the team’s training staff.
Said: "I thought our defense has been playing awesome. I don’t know for how long, but a long period of time. That’s what you need when you got injuries and you have guys finishing the game early on like with (Spurgeon) tonight. Then we’ve got (Dumba) and (Prosser) and those guys stepping in. The D-corps has been awesome, like I said, for a long period of time. You don’t want to lose a guy like (Spurgeon) but we’re fortunate to have guys like the other five tonight." — Koivu
Next: Minnesota finishes its three-game Canadian road trip Friday at Edmonton before returning home Sunday against Dallas. The Wild beat the Oilers 2-1 at Rexall Place on Jan. 27, the first of three meetings between the teams.
Minnesota’s 20 wins in Edmonton and 44 victories overall are the most against any franchise in Wild history. Minnesota is 9-1-0 in the last 10 games played in Edmonton, outscoring the Oilers 30-16.
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