The Five Takeaways: Flames vs. Wild
Five key elements from the divisional clash between the Flames & Wild
By all accounts, the Flames got off to a great start, They were able to break through a very strong Minnesota defence, set up on the forecheck, and fired any shoot they could get on net. Just three minutes into the contest, the shots were already 8-0 in favour of the home side.
However, the Wild were the ones who hit the scoresheet first. Nick Johnson carried the puck along the boards and wired a quick shot at Miikka Kiprusoff. The shot looked like an easy save for the netminder but Darroll Powe skated into the slot and the puck bounced off his skate. The deflection deceived Kiprusoff and Powe notched his first goal of the year.
The Flames continued to dominate after the even strength marker, outshooting the Wild 15-5 through the opening frame, but couldn't manage to find the equalizer in that time.
Flames winger Curtis Glencross had two excellent scoring opportunities in the first period, missing the net by mere centimetres on both occasions.
In the early minutes of the game, Glencross was able to nab the puck during a scramble in front of Backstrom. He skated towards the post, hoping to send a backhander over the scrambling netminder but he couldn't lift the shot high enough and Backstrom gobbled up the weak shot.
Shortly after, he was the recipient of an excellent pass while he was wide open at the side of the net but when he went for the one-timer, he sent it high. If the shot had been slightly lower, he would have had an empty net to dump the puck into.
While the Flames have an excellent power play when on the road, their time with the man advantage in the confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome can best be described as lackluster. e They came into the game as the worst team in the League when it comes to their power play at home, with a 7.4 percent connection rate.
The Wild took six minor penalties and one major infraction in the game but every time the Flames were handed a power play, they squandered it with stilted, forced plays. There seemed to be no cohension in the units and they were a second behind on every play.
The Flames now have a 5.9 percent success rate on the power play at the Saddledome.
One area the Flames failed greatly in was the faceoff circle. They won a mere 35 percent of their draws and no player was able to win, at minimum, half of their faceoffs.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Minnesota's Kyle Brodziak won 10 of 14 draws, a 71 percent win rate.
Flames tough guy Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond suited up for his third contest of the year and his second straight game. He had 4:15 of ice time in eight shifts, sending one shot on net. He had an even plus-minus rating.
Niklas Hagman, Brendan Morrison and Cory Sarich were healthy scratches on Tuesday night.