Dave Campbell / AP Sports Writer, Published April 21 2013
Wild fall at home to Flames
Despite long stretches of dominance, they remain stuck due to a plucky performance by the noncompliant Calgary Flames.
Joey MacDonald made 34 saves, Mark Cundari scored a goal in his first NHL game and the Flames beat the Wild 4-1 on Sunday night.
“We certainly don’t seem to like doing things the easy way,” said Minnesota coach Mike Yeo, whose team lost for the fifth straight time at home.
Mikael Backlund, Mike Cammalleri and Jiri Hudler also scored for the Flames, who are long out of the postseason hunt but have won six of their last eight games.
“It’s not about spoiling. It’s just about playing hard and winning,” MacDonald said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys here trying to prove a point for next year.”
Zach Parise got his team-high 17th goal for the Wild, who will likely need to win two of their three remaining games to make the playoffs without help from others. They’re in seventh place in the Western Conference with 51 points, while Columbus, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix remain in a tight pack still alive behind them.
“We put ourselves in a tough spot, but we’re still in the driver’s seat. It makes it more difficult now, but we’ve just got to dig deeper,” center Kyle Brodziak said.
The Wild, who are 0-6 in April against the six teams ahead of them in the West, entered this final stretch with the supposed fortune of facing teams in the bottom four spots in the conference in three of four games, counting this one.
“We played OK, had some good stretches, but we can’t lose that game,” center Matt Cullen said.
The Wild lost despite outshooting the Flames
35-24, including 25-12 over the first two periods. Parise had nine shots on net himself.
“We’ve got to put ‘em in. That’s all there is to it,” Parise said.
For the Wild, this felt like their previous home game, April 13 against Columbus, when they outshot the Blue Jackets 41-22 but lost 3-2 in a shootout. They controlled the pace of play for most of the evening, but Calgary refused to quit.
Calgary 1 1 2 – 4
Minnesota 1 0 0 – 1
First period: 1, Calgary, Cundari 1 (Brodie, Cammalleri), 13:37 (pp). 2, Minnesota, Parise 17 (Coyle, Koivu), 18:44.
Second period: 3, Calgary, Backlund 8 (Stempniak, Baertschi), 8:50.
Third period: 4, Calgary, Cammalleri 13 (Cundari, Brodie), 12:40 (pp). 5, Calgary, Hudler 10 (Reinhart, Giordano), 19:28 (en-pp).
Shots on Goal: Calgary 5-7-12 – 24. Minnesota 14-11-10 – 35.
Goalies: Calgary, MacDonald. Minnesota, Backstrom. A – 19,039 (17,954). T – 2:23.