Wild aim to contain sizzling Flames

By Laurence Heinen, The Sports Xchange
Matt Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames face off with the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Matt Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames face off with the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames earned a well-deserved day off on Wednesday following their wild 9-6 road victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets a night earlier.

The Flames (17-9-2) will look to build on their come-from-behind win over the Jackets when they host the Minnesota Wild (15-10-2) at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Thursday.


"We just battled back and stuck with it," said defenseman Noah Hanifin in regards to how he and his Calgary teammates were able to battle back from a 4-1 deficit to beat Columbus. "This team, it's pretty crazy how often we come back from those leads that other teams have, so it's great. It was obviously an offensive game -- not the way we want to play. We don't really want to give up six goals, but sometimes it happens. To win, it's huge."

Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan led Calgary's offensive attack against Columbus with two goals and two assists each, while goalie Mike Smith made 13 saves in relief of starting netminder David Rittich.


"Obviously not the way you drew it up, but at the end of the day I think we're obviously happy to get the two points," said Smith, who improved his record to 9-7-1 thanks to his fourth straight win. "I don't think there's a goalie, at least that I know, that would like to play in one of those games. It's just one of those games where the chances were there, pucks were finding ways to get in -- tipped shots and posts and in and stuff.

"I thought our guys were resilient. We stuck with it. We were down 4-1. We could have rolled over and packed it in, but I thought we did a good job to get back in the game."

Shortly after the Flames wrapped up their third straight win on Tuesday, the Wild put the finishing touches on a 3-2 road win over the Vancouver Canucks to snap a three-game losing streak.

"When it's not going your way, it takes a little extra to get out of it and get back in the win column," said Wild center Eric Staal following the game. "It took everybody. I thought everybody competed really hard and had to work for the W.


"It's a tough league to win in and it feels good to hopefully start a streak the other direction."

Ryan Suter, Jason Zucker and Zach Parise scored for Minnesota while Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves to pick up the win in net.

"This is the kind of games you have to win on the road," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "I mean Calgary only got nine (on Tuesday), so we'll have to be pretty good defensively as well the next night against them."

Boudreau praised his players for keeping things simple against the Canucks and added that he's hoping for similar performances when his team takes on the Flames on Thursday followed by another tough test against the Oilers in Edmonton the next night.

"You have to simplify it," Boudreau said. "If you make this game complicated, then I think you're in trouble. Simplifying the game and doing those little things right are going to gain you success."

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