SUN Hockey Pool

Second chance pays off

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

ST. PAUL -- Adrian Aucoin felt bad about the miscue that led to the Minnesota Wild's second goal.

Nailing the post on an overtime breakaway could have nearly sent him into a depression.

The Calgary Flames defenceman received the redemption he so desperately wanted by netting the winner in last night's 3-2 overtime victory over the Minnesota Wild.

"I thought I was going to score, so I was mad at myself," Aucoin said of his breakaway chance earlier in the extra session.

"We've got an ongoing joke about the guys getting a little bit of justice, so that was a bit of justice, I guess."

Despite ample opportunity to be the goat of the night, Aucoin's 10th tally of the season made him the hero.

"Damn straight," he said with a grin. "That Vancouver game (the 4-3 shootout defeat Tuesday) was emotional, not just for myself but everybody. We really wanted to win that one, and the last day was long.

"Sometimes, you lose games and just have to put it behind you, but that was a tough one for me and for a lot of the guys, so it was good."

Not that Aucoin's winner was a highlight-reel tally.

His long wrist shot was going wide -- he insisted because he planned for Michael Cammalleri for a possible deflection -- but the puck hit Wild defenceman Brent Burns in the back and ricocheted into the net to the chagrin of the Xcel Energy Center sellout crowd of 18,568.

"It wasn't a snipe, as they like to say. It was a deflection shot, it just went off the other guy instead of the guy I was aiming for," Aucoin said.

Minutes earlier, he put a shot just a touch wide, right into the post on his first breakaway in a decade.

That's right, a decade. Aucoin said his last breakaway was in the 1998-99 season, while he played for Vancouver and he scored shorthanded against Calgary.

"Jarome Iginla tried to go behind his back, and I cut it off and scored," Aucoin recalled. "I don't remember who the goalie was, but I remember he got pulled for Tyler Moss.

"I know Tyler Moss, so that's why I remember it."

With the win, the Flames (34-18-6) remain eight points ahead of Vancouver in the Northwest Division chase.

Looking to beat the Wild for the third time in as many outings this season, the Flames appeared to have the right recipe early when Rene Bourque collected his 21st goal of the season just over three minutes into the game.

But Dan Fritsche's shorthanded goal -- the 13th surrendered by Calgary this season -- and Colton Gillies' tally had the hosts up 2-1 before the midway point.

The situation looked even more grim when Bourque left with an ankle injury. The Flames regrouped and drew even with Dustin Boyd's late second-period tally, which set the stage for Aucoin's heroics.

"It wasn't the prettiest, but we got the victory," Boyd said. "They're pretty defensive and play a pretty tough style of system. Whenever we get opportunities, we've got to make the most of them."

Especially with the breathing room seemingly becoming less and less while Vancouver racks up one win after another.

"It's an important win in the standings and a (good) type of win," said captain Jarome Iginla.

"We had a good first period, good road period, and for about 15 minutes in the second, they really came on and got started with that shorthanded goal and scored right after.

"With that and the injury to Bourque, we had a lot of reasons to be down on the bench and deflated, but the last five minutes of the second period was really big. Not only because of the goal, but we started getting chances and shots.

"It's a big win."

Minnesota (28-24-4) is 14 points behind Calgary and two points in arrears of Edmonton for eighth spot in the Western Conference.

The Flames face the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night for the Hockey Day in Canada finale.


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