(Sports Network) – Mikko Koivu scored a goal and dished out two assists, as the Minnesota Wild held off the Calgary Flames, 3-1, in the opener of a home-and-home series from Scotiabank Saddledome.
Antti Miettinen and Chuck Kobasew also lit the lamp for the Wild, who snapped a two-game skid. Niklas Backstrom made 28 saves.
“The guys managed the game really well,” Wild head coach Todd Richards said. “Getting the lead was big in a game like this. Everyone battled and competed very hard tonight.”
Matt Stajan scored the lone goal for the Flames, who finished a three-game homestand with a 2-1-0 record. Miikka Kiprusoff turned aside 13-of-16 shots.
Following a scoreless first period, Minnesota took control with a pair of goals in the second.
Miettinen got the Wild going with a power-play goal at the 15:25 mark. Koivu led a rush down the left side of the ice and made a cross-ice pass to Miettinen, whose wrister beat Kiprusoff.
The Wild took a 2-0 lead on Koivu’s score with 53 seconds left in the middle stanza. Brent Burns’ pass/shot from the top of the right circle was deflected into the net by Koivu.
Kobasew’s goal at the 7:41 mark of the third made it a 3-0 game.
Calgary finally got on the board with 5:17 to play. A shot from the point set up a rebound in front for Stajan, who chipped the puck past Backstrom.
“It didn’t happen offensively tonight,” Flames head coach Brent Sutter said. “Our urgency wasn’t where it needed to be. We played a team that’s in the same situation we’re in.”
The season series between the Flames and Wild is tied, 2-2, but Minnesota has won eight of the last 11 meetings between the clubs. These two teams will also play on Monday in Minnesota…The Flames haven’t won three in a row since October 22-26…Wild forward Matt Cullen returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with a groin injury.