ST. PAUL, Minn. – Todd Bertuzzi found the perfect way to ruin a homecoming.
Bertuzzi’s goal 3:48 into overtime spoiled Marian Gaborik’s otherwise-successful return to the Minnesota Wild lineup and gave the Calgary Flames a 3-2 victory Wednesday night. Daymond Langkow scored Calgary’s first goal and assisted on the winner with a cross-ice pass as the Flames extended Minnesota’s losing streak to six games. Gaborik had a goal and an assist in his long-awaited comeback.
“It was a good veteran move by Daymond Langkow,” said Bertuzzi, who had not scored since Nov. 2. “He made a smart play, dove for it, got it over, and that’s obviously a nice two points to go home with.”
Miikka Kiprusoff continued his mastery of the Wild by making 25 saves and beating Minnesota for the 20th time in 29 career starts. Gaborik assisted on the Wild’s first goal and scored to tie the game in the third period.
“A player like that we should never leave open. He used those chances and was able to tie the game,” Kiprusoff said of Gaborik. “The good thing is we came back and were able to get those two points.”
After scoring in a 4-2 win at Atlanta on Oct. 14, Gaborik sustained a lower body injury off the ice and missed 27 games. He got a loud ovation from the home crowd 70 seconds into the game when he came on for his first shift.
“It was so exciting to score, especially after I was out for a couple months,” Gaborik said. “It’s always good to get out there. When you get a goal or a point, it’s always a bonus. It’s too bad we couldn’t get two points, but every point counts in this situation we are in right now.”
Langkow opened the scoring for Calgary in the second period, and the Wild answered less than a minute later. Gaborik’s shot from the high slot was stopped by Kiprusoff, but Andrew Brunette swatted in the rebound.
Craig Conroy got the go-ahead goal for Calgary late in the second.
“Right now what’s happening is very simple,” said Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, who last won a game on Dec. 3. “Guys are trying to come back and play as well as they can. They are making one mistake, pay the price. They make another one, give them a chance, and get exposed. That’s where we’re at right now.”
The biggest ovation in the scoreless first period came after a thundering check delivered by Wild enforcer Derek Boogaard on Calgary’s Rene Bourque behind the Minnesota net. The next time he was on the ice, Bourque and Wild defenceman Nick Schultz squared off. Boogaard and Calgary’s Andre Roy fought early in the second period.
“(Kiprusoff) played solid, and their goaltender played well. It was just a matter of working for a break and we were able to find a way,” Flames coach Mike Keenan said. “They came back, which is tough to do, too. Gaborik gave them a little bit of a jump start and took it into overtime. A typical divisional playoff-like game in the middle of December.”
Nicklas Backstrom made 27 saves and took the loss for Minnesota.
Notes: Jamie Lundmark assisted on Langkow’s goal, giving him a point in both games he’s played with the Flames since being recalled from the minors on Monday. … Minnesota, which won the Northwest Division last season, is 1-5 against divisional foes. … Flames forward Curtis Glencross was scratched from his second consecutive game due to a leg injury sustained in a shootout loss to Florida on Friday. … Gaborik’s previous multi-point game came on April 3 at home against the Flames.