The Minnesota Wild experienced the highs and lows of a season in short order, as the club erupted for a franchise record-tying eight goals on Thursday before being held without one two days later.
The Wild will look to locate their offense on Monday when they welcome the Calgary Flames to Saint Paul, Minn. The game marks the teams’ final game before the NHL holiday break.
Minnesota’s 6-0 shellacking at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday afternoon didn’t sit well within the Wild’s locker room.
“It’s one of those games you have once or twice a season where everything goes wrong,” forward Mats Zuccarello said of the team’s third shutout loss of the season and the first in nearly two months. “It’s important that we just forget and don’t lose confidence off of this.”
Coach Bruce Boudreau lamented the other side of the scoreboard, as the Wild have been rather generous by surrendering 11 goals in their last two contests.
“The teams that score a lot of goals one game, they usually say, ‘Geez, I wish we would have saved some for the next game,'” Boudreau said. “But I’m more worried about defending. We gave up five and then we gave up six. You can’t win hockey games when your goals-against average is about 3.5. It’s not going to work.”
Goaltender Alex Stalock, who yielded six goals on 28 shots versus Winnipeg, was quick to look ahead to the team’s encounter with Calgary.
“Thank God we have a game before Christmas,” Stalock said. “You don’t want to go into Christmas playing with that feeling losing at home 6-0 and letting your fans down. I think this group’s looking forward to Monday for sure.”
Prior to being jolted by the Jets, the Wild hadn’t lost in regulation at Xcel Energy Center since a 7-4 setback to Pittsburgh on Oct. 12.
Saturday’s contest began a stretch of 18 of 22 games being played at home for Minnesota, although it dropped a 2-1 decision to the Flames in the team’s lone meeting in Saint Paul last season.
The Flames’ Elias Lindholm, who scored two goals in the three-game season series with the Wild in 2018-19, collected three assists on Sunday as Calgary snapped a three-game skid (0-2-1) with a 5-1 victory over Dallas.
Matthew Tkachuk also recorded a three-point performance with a goal and two assists to extend his four-game road point streak (three goals, five assists). His power-play goal ignited a stretch of three straight tallies by the Flames with the man advantage.
“Even the ones we weren’t scoring on, I felt like we were snapping it around pretty good,” Tkachuk said. “And when we’re at our best, the puck is on and off our stick, whether that’s a shot or hitting the open guy.”
Flames captain Mark Giordano scored a goal and set up three others during last season’s series with the Wild. The reigning Norris Trophy recipient has 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 45 career meetings with Minnesota.
The electric Johnny Gaudreau notched three assists to boost his point total to 12 (two goals, 10 assists) in 14 career encounters with Minnesota.
–Field Level Media
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