SUN Hockey Pool

Flames just can't capitalize

Flames defenceman Anton Babchuk gets tangled up with Wild forward Colton Gillies at the Scotiabank...

Flames defenceman Anton Babchuk gets tangled up with Wild forward Colton Gillies at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alta., Nov. 8, 2011. (TODD KOROL/Reuters)

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:00 AM ET

CALGARY - Hours before the puck dropped, assistant captain Mark Giordano predicted Tuesday’s tilt with the Minnesota Wild would be a “chess match.”

The Calgary Flames certainly tried to make the first move.

The Flames were flying in the early stages of a 3-0 loss to the Wild at the Saddledome, firing 10 shots at netminder Niklas Backstrom in the first five minutes of the contest.

To show for it? Not a thing.

Flames winger Lee Stempniak tried to chip a rebound over Backstrom’s shoulder just two minutes after the opening faceoff but was denied.

A couple minutes later, winger Curtis Glencross had Minnesota’s puck-stopper sprawled out in his crease but couldn’t get enough oomph on a backhander.

Calgary’s captain Jarome Iginla fired a dangerous shot from the slot, again to no avail.

While the loss will most likely be blamed on an anemic powerplay, and rightfully so, it could’ve been a much different outcome if the Flames were able to capitalize on one of their early scoring opportunities.

OFF THE GLASS

C/LW David Moss returned to the Flames’ lineup after missing one game with a foot injury suffered on a blocked shot in Buffalo. A valuable asset as Calgary’s able-to-play-anywhere forward, Moss joked after the morning skate he needs to “learn how to block ’em a little bit better.” Watching Moss struggle to skate, it was painfully obvious he could’ve used another night off ... Classy move by the Flames’ organization to salute a group of veterans and current military personnel in a pre-game ceremony.. There seemed to be a few extra voices singing O Canada after the Remembrance Day video tribute ... Something you definitely won’t hear at the NHL’s realignment meetings — “Our fans would love to see the Minnesota Wild come to town more often” ... During the second intermission, the correct answer to the hockey terminology game — a Wheel of Fortune knockoff — was ‘neutral zone trap.’ What Flames or Wild fan doesn’t know that term?

IN THE CORNERS

With LW Niklas Hagman, C Brendan Morrison and D Cory Sarich scratched, the Flames had about US$7.4 million in salary watching from the press box. C Matt

Stajan, the guy with a US$3.5-million cap hit, should be a candidate to come out of the lineup when C Mikael Backlund returns from a broken finger ... Doesn’t have anything to do with the Flames or the Wild, but I can’t help but wonder if Wayne Gretzky would consider writing a book to reveal that Georges Laraque is, uh, not the best player he ever coached ... Wild RW Nick Johnson, who hails from Calgary, was tossed for head-butting Flames RW Jarome Iginla during a second-period scrap. On the replays, it’s hard to tell if Johnson is trying to head-butt the Flames captain or just avoid having his nose smashed in.

SWEET TWEET

“Iginla should apologize to his team for making the Flames go on a 5 minute PP considering how it looks”

— Kayla (@KaylaJ67)


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