Mike Doyle's Five Takeways vs. Calgary
Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 9:09 PM / Minnesota Wild | Features
By Mike Doyle - Managing Editor
Well, that was a tough loss to swallow, especially against a Northwest Division rival. The Wild was close, but came up just short against the Calgary Flames. For the first 40 minutes, the game played out as a tight checking affair, with Calgary marking the only tally. However, the third period seemed like a completely different game with each team exploding offensively, scoring three goals apiece. The Wild fired 15 shots in the third period, but were unable to crack Mikka Kiprusoff in the final seconds to send the game into overtime.
In the third period, Erik Christensen showed off some of the skills we’ve witnessed in shootouts since joining the Wild. The center scored two goals during the final frame, both after making a couple of shifty moves to find separation from Flames defenders.
On his first goal, Christensen caused a turnover at Calgary’s blue line, then beat Roman Hoak off the Wall with an inside-out move. He shot a low wrist shot that Mikka Kiprusoff probably would’ve liked to have back, because it beat the netminder five-hole.
On his second, Christensen circled through traffic at the top of the circle and fired snapshot that Kiprusoff never saw, and beat the goalie high over his glove hand. Hopefully this performance will give him some confidence and get him going offensively for the remainder of the season.
With all of the injuries the Wild has suffered this season, it was great to see Clayton Stoner return to the ice. The defenseman missed 17 games with a lower body injury. Often with a lower body injury, you have to wonder about the player’s conditioning when they first come back because they are unable to skate, and Stoner was out for more than a month. However, conditioning didn’t factor into the game because Stoner played just over 17 minutes.
One thing you can always expect from Stoner is physical play, and tonight he didn’t disappoint. In the second period he flattened Tom Kostopoulos with a clean shoulder-to-shoulder check.
Hey hockey gods, what did Minnesota ever do to you? Calgary’s third goal might have been one of the unluckiest series of events for the Wild I’ve seen this season. If you didn’t see it, you’re not going to want to watch the highlight because you might chuck your computer or television, but I’ll break it down for you.
One of the Flames players had his stick broken in the Wild’s defensive zone, so he discarded it in the middle of the ice. After a few seconds of game play, Tom Gilbert picked up the puck behind his net and fires a pass to an open Darroll Powe in the middle of the ice, and the puck hits the lifeless twig and bounces up into the air. It goes right to the one guy you don’t want open in the shot, Jarome Iginla. However, the 500-goal man didn’t make the type of play you’d expect. He winds up for a slap shot, but gets tripped up on his own blades and fans the shot while falling down. But there is enough juice on the shot to slide right onto the stick of Curtis Glencross on the side of the net. The former UAA Seawolf is at the side of the cage and one-times the puck into the open net. I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes.
Adding insult to injury, Glencross was rewarded with that gift-wrapped tally after breaking one of the cardinal sins in hockey: celebrating a non-goal. In the first period, Matt Hackett absolutely robbed Olli Jokinen from point-blank range with a snappy glove save. Glencross thought that Jokinen had a surefire goal and raised his hands in celebration, but Hackett had other plans. Glencross looked foolish on the play, but still scored on a fluky play. Hogwash.