ST. PAUL, Minn. – After missing an opportunity to give his team a victory early in overtime, Adrian Aucoin capitalized on his next chance.
Aucoin scored in overtime to give the Calgary Flames a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. After ringing a shot off the post on a breakaway chance earlier in overtime, Aucoin put a wrist shot from the point past goalie Niklas Backstrom. The shot appeared to bounce off Wild defender Brent Burns before going in.
“We’ve been saying on this team about guys getting justice around here. That’s pretty much what it was,” Aucoin said. “I don’t get too many breakaways. I beat (Backstrom) but obviously not the post.”
Rene Bourque and Dustin Boyd also scored for Calgary, and Miikka Kipprusoff made 27 saves.
Dan Fritsche and Colton Gillies scored for Minnesota, which tied the franchise record for fewest shots in a period with one in the third.
The defensive performance was encouraging for Calgary, which has been overly reliant on Kipprusoff recently. The Flames had surrendered 156 shots in their previous four games entering Thursday.
“I only saw one shot in the third period and I kind of liked it,” Kipprusoff said.
The Wild, currently in 10th place in the Western conference, salvaged a point as they try to get back into the playoff picture, but couldn’t be happy about its performance.
“There’s no time to have a bad night. We had a bad night the night before,” said Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, referring to his team’s last game on Saturday where it squandered a three-goal lead and lost to Ottawa.
“You can’t have a bad night every night.”
Bourque opened the scoring 3:17 into the game with his 21st goal of the season. The Flames held the Wild without a shot on goal for the first half of the opening period and controlled most of the action.
After being victimized by two short-handed goals on Saturday, Minnesota got a short-hander of its own to grab the momentum Thursday.
With Bourque injured in the Wild’s zone early in the second, Fritsche, acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers on Jan. 29, beat Kipprusoff for his first goal with the Wild and first since Nov. 28.
Flames coach Mike Keenan said that Bourque injured his ankle and is “going to be gone for a long time.”
Minnesota carried the momentum for the next 10 minutes and took a 2-1 lead when Gillies beat Kipprusoff to give Minnesota a 2-1 advantage.
However, the Wild couldn’t hang on for the victory and the extra point.
“It’s always disappointing this late in the season to not get that extra point,” Cal Clutterbuck said. “We wanted to come out really hard after the game we had last Saturday and we just didn’t come out that hard.”
Calgary tied it at 16:10 of the second when Boyd beat a sprawling Backstrom for his 10th goal.
The Flames, who hold the third seed in the West, are 6-1-3 in their last 10 games against the Wild. Eight of the last nine games have been decided by one goal.
“We knew this was three important games in our division that we have to make sure we are getting points and win the games,” Boyd said.
“Tonight wasn’t the prettiest, but we got the victory.”
Notes: Wild forward Andrew Brunette left the game after the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. Brunette has played in 509 consecutive games. … Calgary defenceman Mark Giordano had to leave the game after being checked into the boards by NHL hits leader Clutterbuck late in the third. … Peter Olvecky had an assist on Gillies’ goal for his first NHL point. … Calgary is 4-6 in overtime games. Minnesota is 6-4.