Jarome Iginla's game-winner sends Wild to fifth straight loss
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The usual suspects from an Alberta cowtown conspired to extend the Minnesota Wild's season-worst losing streak.
Jarome Iginla had a goal and an assist, and Miikka Kiprusoff made 29 saves for the Calgary Flames in a 2-1 win over the Wild on Tuesday night in Calgary. It was the Wild's fifth straight loss.
The Wild showed lots of life, especially in the first and third periods, and got a gritty "go hard to the net" goal from Pierre-Marc Bouchard, but in the end could not get the equalizer in a frantic final two minutes when they were on a power play and had goalie Josh Harding pulled for an extra attacker.
With Calgary seemingly going nowhere this season, there's been talk of a the Flames orchestrating a Ray Bourque-like late career trade of Iginla, to a team where he has a more legitimate chance to finally get a Stanley Cup. The Wild would clearly welcome that idea, especially if he's sent somewhere in the Eastern Conference where he can torment Minnesota less often.
His middle period goal ruined a nice effort by Harding, who had 28 saves while playing for the first time in two weeks. But there was not enough offensive support to get a win. Bouchard's goal was a nice "I'm back" moment, as he followed a hard shot by Jared Spurgeon to the net and poked the rebound past Kiprusoff.
Offensively, that was the only highlight, but the coach said there's no panic about the team's sudden inability to get enough pucks over the goal line to get the team's 21st win.
"I'm not getting worried. This is the same team," said Wild coach Mike Yeo. "We have a couple guys out right now and we could've won this game."
The Wild dominated for long stretches of the opening period and emerged with a 1-1 tie despite giving up an early goal by Calgary's Curtis Glencross. But in the second period, the Wild appeared to go to sleep, allowing 11 unanswered shots to start the period, allowing Iginla's go-ahead goal, and mustering just two shots themselves until the final minutes of the period.
"Our execution was not good at all in the second period," Yeo said. "We just took turns turning pucks over."
• 3-9-1: Wild record when trailing after two periods this season.
• 47: Appearances by Kiprusoff versus the Wild, the most by any opposing goalie in the NHL.
• 13: Members of last season's Houston Aeros who have seen time in uniform for the Wild this season.
• 33: Goals scored by Iginla in 64 career games versus the Wild.
Justin Falk returned from the injured reserve list on Tuesday, after missing the Wild's previous 11 games. He had last played on Nov. 27, in a home loss to the Flames. Devin Setoguchi and Mikko Koivu are both traveling with the team, but neither has returned to the lineup yet. Yeo hinted that Koivu will play in the team's next game, in Edmonton on Thursday. With Falk back in uniform, Yeo went with seven defensemen, and Chad Rau was sent back to Houston where he will wait a little longer to make his NHL debut.
Flames - Curtis Glencross 11 (Iginla, Butler), 2:47
Wild - Pierre-Marc Bouchard 6 (Spurgeon, Cullen), 6:10
Flames - Jarome Iginla 13 (Smith, Jokinen), 6:02
Shots: Wild 13-6-11-30; Flames 11-13-6-30. Saves: Wild, Josh Harding (28-30); Flames, Miikka Kiprusoff (29-30). Power plays: Wild 0-for-3, Flames 0-2.
1. Jarome Iginla
2. Mikael Backlund
3. Miikka Kiprusoff
The Wild get a night off before their third consecutive Northwest Division road game, Thursday night in Edmonton.