Flames blank Wild, 2-0Star Tribune (Minneapolis) — By Sarah McLellan Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Dec. 07-- Fresh off a nine-goal game that included five tallies in a single period, the Calgary Flames weren't as potent against the Minnesota Wild-a credit to the team's defenders and backup goalie Alex Stalock.
But with no support from the offense, the effort was wasted in a 2-0 loss Thursday at Scotiabank Saddledome that rang up as the Wild's seventh setback in the last 11 outings.
Calgary goalie Mike Smith was solid in turning aside all 31 of the Wild's shots, the first time the team has been shut out this season.
As if Smith getting in front of every puck heaved at his net wasn't frustrating enough for Wild players-his stick save on a wrist shot from winger Mikael Granlund early in the first period was especially sharp-Smith's puck-handling ability also seemed a deterrent to the Wild's offensive rhythm since he regularly left the crease to intercept dump-ins.
At the other end, the Wild had to battle to limit the Flames to just two goals after the team rallied for a 9-6 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday.
Soon after puck drop, Stalock was tested by winger Johnny Gaudreau. He split the Wild defense, but Stalock stopped the five-hole attempt.
On the Flames' first power play, captain Mark Giordano hit the post but later in the period, the Flames scored on a point shot from center Elias Lindholm at 13 minutes, 16 seconds.
Immediately after the puck went in, coach Bruce Boudreau gazed down at the television on the bench since it looked like the puck had cleared the zone earlier in the sequence even though the linesman motioned it was still on-side.
And after issuing a coach's challenge, it was determined during a lengthy video review that the puck did cross the blue line to pull the play off-side.
It was the first successful challenge by the Wild this season in four tries. Overall, it's 10-for-35 since the resource was implemented in 2015.
In the second, though, Lindholm scored a goal that did count.
After defenseman Ryan Suter got caught pinching, Lindholm buried a 2-on-1 rush by Calgary 50 seconds into the period after accepting a dish from Gaudreau.
Turnovers by the Wild gave the Flames more offensive-zone time, which included another shot off the post.
The Wild did earn a few reprieves on the power play, but the effectiveness that headlined the 3-for-3 showing Tuesday in the 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks apparently didn't make the flight to Calgary.
All five chances against the Flames were futile, and Smith was a major reason why; during one opportunity late in the second, he made two key stops on defenseman Matt Dumba-including one from the spot on the left side that's been particularly effective for Dumba during the man advantage.
The Wild's penalty killers fared better, surviving the Flames' two looks.
But the team didn't have an answer for Lindholm.
He gave Calgary an important insurance tally only 1:13 into the third, skating unmarked to the net as the trailer on the play to slide a five-hole shot on Stalock.
Gaudreau, again, set up the goal, and Giordano earned his second assist of the game.
Stalock, in his 100th career game, ended up with 18 saves.
The Wild also finished the game without captain Mikko Koivu, who left after getting tripped by Giordano in the third.
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