Not only was the action teeing up a potential encore performance by the Wild, but it looked like it was following the exact same script.
After outlasting the Jets the day before by converting on a 4-on-3 power play in overtime, the Wild was again given the chance to capitalize with an extra attacker in the extra session Sunday against the Flames.
The Wild even trotted out the same players that were on the ice for the clinching goal.
But instead of copying Saturday’s strategy, the Wild whiffed on the chance and nosedived into a 5-4, seven-round shootout loss to the Flames in front of 17,204 at Xcel Energy Center to go 1-2-1 on its four-game homestand.
“Special teams is killing us,” coach Bruce Boudreau said.
That’s where the blame turned after the game, not just because of the missed opportunity in overtime that came after Calgary captain Mark Giordano was called for tripping Ryan Donato.
Two of the Flames’ goals, including Giordano’s game-tying goal at 14 minutes, 32 seconds of the third period, came on the power play — magnifying the team’s recent woes on the penalty kill. Calgary ended up 2-for-4, while the Wild was 1-for-2.
“When you don’t get the puck out, it almost always kills you,” Boudreau said. “When you get the puck out, 200 feet, and it’s not like we’re going for goals trying to make plays, we’re just trying to get the puck out and we’re giving it right to them.”
Giordano’s goal was a fortuitous bounce, a centering feed that caromed off defenseman Ryan Suter’s stick and flew past goalie Alex Stalock.
“I should have cleared it, and then just a bad bounce,” Suter said.
After overtime, Donato scored in the fourth round of the shootout before Derek Ryan immediately retaliated. On the Flames’ seventh attempt, Dillion Dube sealed the comeback win for Calgary. Aside from making six stops in the shootout, David Rittich had 30 through regulation and overtime. Stalock finished with 33.
“Quite frankly, even though he gave up four goals, he made some great saves at the end just to make sure we got a point,” Boudreau said of Stalock. “We just didn’t help him very much.”
The Wild never trailed until the final score, going ahead 5:01 into the first on winger Kevin Fiala’s power play shot.
At 9:32, the Flames responded with their own power play marker — a redirection by Milan Lucic that rolled five-hole on Stalock.
But only 34 seconds later, winger Marcus Foligno scored his first of the game on a rising shot set up by center Joel Eriksson Ek.
After Travis Hamonic’s one-timer evened it again at 15:40, Foligno reinstated the Wild’s lead with 46 seconds to go after he crashed the net to poke in a loose puck.
The two-goal outburst was the eighth of Foligno’s career and first with the Wild. He capped off the weekend with four points, after recording a goal and assist Saturday. He’s just three points shy of tying his total (19) from last season.
In the third, the Flames evened it again on a point shot from Michael Stone at 1:55. Just 42 seconds later, winger Jordan Greenway again put the Wild ahead on a deflection, his first goal in 11 games.
Unlike before, though, the Wild didn’t have an answer once Giordano scored.
“You can sit there and say, ‘We got a point in back-to-back games,’ and stuff like that,” Boudreau said. “But when we should’ve had two against a team we could’ve caught [in the standings], it’s very frustrating. A lot of frustrating things out there.”