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  • Chad Johnson does a controlled burn on Wild offense in 1-0 Flames win


    Johnny Hockey’s goal early in the first period was all it would take for the Flames to dispatch the Wild on home ice. Chad Johnson shut the door the rest of the way as the Wild found it difficult to solve the Flames netminder. It is just the second time in 11 days the Minnesota and 2nd time this season the Wild would get shutout in 1-0 fashion.

    The Wild came out firing from the opening faceoff. Eric Staal was denied on two breakaways, and it was shift after shift that the Wild took it to the Flames. Mikko Koivu got a breakaway with so much time, he tried his forehand/backhand shootout move, but sailed it just high of the crossbar. It wouldn’t be too much longer that Johnny Gaudreau would beat Christian Folin and stick handle through the slot to beat Devan Dubnyk.

    Dubnyk fought the puck early, but he seemed to settle in to the game and was very strong, turning away the other 26 shots he’d face. He kept the Wild in the game as the team in front of him struggled to find the back of the net against a team that’s among the worst in Goals Against Average.

    The second period was muddled by a flurry of penalties. There were a combined five separate minor penalties called in the middle frame alone. It really killed any flow in the game. Minnesota, when they got the benefit of a power play (2 PP opportunities) only mounted two shots on goal. The Wild penalty kill was 5-for-6 on the night with the one goal coming from Gaudreau.

    It wasn’t like the Wild hadn’t been close to the net. They hit two posts, and at times caused havoc in front of the net. They just couldn’t get the puck to fall on their stick and have open net to shoot into. Johnson looked really big in net and was proving tough to beat.

    The Wild needed to mount a rally to open the third period. that would be stifled yet again by an Eric Staal high sticking minor just 19 seconds into the third period. Minnesota would kill it off, but then Matt Dumba jumped on Garnet Hathaway after a collision with Dubnyk, who was out of his crease to play the puck. Dumba got the extra two minutes and put the Wild short-handed yet again. With time running down, and the net empty, Minnesota feverishly tried to move the puck around the zone for an open look. The final horn blew with a wall of man and Chad Johnson in front of the Calgary goal, and the puck on the wrong side.

    The Wild could have, and likely should have blown the doors off this game, especially early. Chad Johnson was the factor in the game and he deserved the shutout. Dubnyk was no slouch as well and made some solid saves for the Wild. Minnesota needs to figure out ways to be better in these tough 50-50 games. Zach Parise said after the game that he “Felt slow to react,” to some plays. Even though he was a welcome site back in the line-up, Parise coming back will take a bit to coalesce into the team chemistry again, especially as he gets back up to game speed.

    The Wild fall to the Flames on home ice 1-0. Minnesota will take on the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. The Wild last played Boston on October 25 in a 5-0 victory. We’ll see you then.

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