Friday, December 11, 2009

Torched! Havlat, Shep beat the 'Dome, Wild douse Flames in OT

And just like that, the Saddledome curse for the Wild is history.

Martin Havlat's give-and-go goal with Marek Zidlicky gave the Minnesota Wild a very well-deserved 2-1 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames and the 'C of Red' Friday night, in front of the usual 19,289 at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Havlat's goal, his first since returning from a hamstring injury, capped off a wild night, one which the Flames fans probably had never before seen, as the Wild peppered Mikka Kiprusoff with 46 shots, the second-most in Wild team history on the road.

The James Sheppard era continued as the former first-rounder took a Shane Hnidy rebound, and flipped it over a prone Kiprusoff to tie the game at 1-1 and send it to the extra session. But, this was not your Wild overtimes of the past. Unlike previous seasons, when Jacques Lemaire would have sat back and held out for the shootout, this group was aggressive, taking chances (especially late in the 3rd period) and kept the Flames bottled up in their half of the ice a good part of the evening. The Flames, for their part, seemed not to get anything sustained going the first 45 minutes of the contest.

Even Derek Boogaard had a victory tonight, as his fourth punch in his second period fight with Calgary's Bryan McGratton sent the ex-Ottawa Senator directly to Dream Street, with a right that connected flush with McGratton's left cheekbone.

The Wild, now 3-1 on this five-game Western swing, could possibly move into third place in the Northwest Division if they can be victorious in their Next Game: at Vancouver, Saturday, Dec. 12 (tomorrow), 9 PM Central (7 PM Pacific) Time, GM Place. (Wild TV: FSNorth; CBC 'Hockey Night in Canada' in HD (doubleheader game); XM NHL Home Ice, Ch. 204)

-- WRT

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