Wild Suffer Tough Road Loss To Flames, Fall 5-1

Alexander Shun | @alexpshun

Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com

The Minnesota Wild cannot solve the puzzle that is the Calgary Flames.

The Wild entered Wednesday night's contest with the Flames riding a 14-game road point streak. The Flames brought that streak to a screeching halt, dominating the Wild en route to a 5-1 victory on their home ice and completing the season-sweep of the Western Conference's top team.

Minnesota, playing on the second night of a back-to-back, knocked off the streaking Edmonton Oilers 5-2 on Tuesday night, seemingly building momentum for Wednesday night's contest against Calgary. They were going to have All-Star goaltender Devan Dubnyk back between the pipes and he had made it nearly impossible of late for teams to get pucks past him. The Flames did so seemingly with ease, firing 36 shots at the Minnesota net-minder and scoring five times.

"It's a long season," Dubnyk said after his team's first regulation loss since a 3-2 shootout loss to Calgary on December 2. "It's not going to be perfect all the time. All we've got to do is understand why that game was 5-1 and get back to playing how we want to."

The Wild certainly didn't play like the top team in the West as they looked tired throughout and allowed far too many open shots on their goaltender. The Flames, still well in the mix for a playoff spot, took full advantage.

Calgary got on the board less than five minutes into the game when Sam Bennett fired a one-timer that deflected off Alex Chiasson and past Dubnyk giving the Flames a 1-0 lead. Less than four minutes later the Flames would strike again, this time on the power play.

Johnny Gaudreau made his way to the front of the net and fired a backhand shot which Dubnyk steered aside but Sean Monahan collected the rebound and laced it past the Minnesota goalie stick-side.

"It's that time of the year where you don't get as many man-advantages," Monahan said, speaking of his power play goals. "They are crucial and you've got to find ways of putting the puck in the back of the net, and we did that tonight."

The Wild cut the Flames lead in half after  Mikael Granlund started a 2-on-1 break and then made the tight pass over to Jason Zucker who calmly flipped the puck up over the stick of a sliding Brian Elliott to make it 2-1. The Wild appeared to be gaining momentum and pulling themselves back into the game, then the third period happened.

Monahan added his second power play goal of the night to give Calgary a two-goal cushion again, and less than 90 seconds later Deryk Engelland fired a shot from the point that found its way through some traffic and into the back of the net, pushing the Flames lead to 4-1 and all but sealing Minnesota's fate.

Michael Ferland added his seventh goal of the year at the 13:47 mark and, just like that, the Flames had completed the sweep of the Wild.

"Back-to-back off a break, it's not easy because you don't really practice that hard the day before. It sounds like an excuse, but our guys were tired," Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau said following the loss. "We played nine games in 15 days. We get a break and then you come back and play back-to-back. I think we'll be much better in Vancouver."

Elliott made 28 saves for Calgary who has now won two-straight games.

The Wild will be back in action looking to rebound from Wednesday night's loss when they take on the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

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