Wild win 3-0 on the road as fans boo fading Flames

CALGARY — Filip Gustavsson continued his excellent goaltending with 31 saves to backstop the surging Minnesota Wild to a 3-0 shutout of the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.

Gustavsson improves to 6-0-2 in his last eight starts having yielded only 11 goals over that span and posting a sparkling .956 save percentage.

Joel Eriksson Ek and Matt Boldy each had a goal and an assist to pace the offence for Minnesota (36-21-6), which has won four games in a row and have points in nine straight (8-0-1). Marcus Foligno also scored. The Wild remain second in the Central Division, three points back of the Dallas Stars.

The struggles continue for Calgary (27-23-13). Winless in its last five (0-3-2) and 1-5-1 in their last seven games at home, boos cascaded down from the Saddledome crowd throughout the final three minutes.

The Flames' playoff hopes continue to fade. They are now seven points back of the Winnipeg Jets, who occupy the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Nashville Predators have also moved one point ahead of Calgary and hold three games in hand.

In finishing 0-2-1 on its home stand, Calgary only mustered four goals on 114 shots.

In improving his record to 17-8-3 on the season, Gustavsson's best stop came midway through the third period to maintain what at the time was a 1-0 lead.

With Calgary on the penalty kill, Noah Hanifin lobbed the puck high in the air from his own end that was gloved to the ice by Tyler Toffoli at the Wild blue line. But on the breakaway, the Flames' leading goal scorer couldn't beat Gustavsson who got his arm on the shot.

Gustavsson entered the game ranked second in both goals-against average (2.06) and save percentage (. 930), trailing only Boston's Linus Ullmark in both categories.

Jacob Markstrom, who has struggled much of the season, turned in his second straight strong outing with 29 stops, only to once again not get any offensive support. He made 32 stops in a 2-1 loss to Toronto on Thursday.

Winless in his last five, Markstrom's record falls to 15-17-8 on the season.

The only goal of the opening 40 minutes came on a double-deflection at 14:52 of the first.

Taking a pass from Jon Klinberg, Matt Boldy's shot from the high slot was first deflected by Marcus Johansson and then changed course again off the stick of Eriksson Ek.

Minnesota locked things down pretty good after that, not allowing the Flames to generate many dangerous chances including on the power play.

The Wild made it 2-0 at 13:49 of the third on a weird one. Frederick Gaudreau's shot from the slot deflected high into the air and landed on top of the Flames' net before bouncing back off again into the crease where it was bunted out of the air by Foligno.

Minnesota put the game on ice at 16:30 when Boldy buried Eriksson Ek's rebound.


The Flames lead the NHL in one-goal losses with a combined 24 between regulation time (11) and overtime (13). The Wild lead the NHL with 18 one-goal wins.


While Jon Klingberg made his Wild debut and Johansson played his second game, the last of the three trade deadline acquisitions for Minnesota was not in the lineup as Oskar Sundqvist has not yet joined the club. For the Flames, newly acquired Troy Stecher drew in on the third pairing with Nikita Zadorov. Nick Ritchie, acquired in the same trade with Arizona, did not play.


Wild: Meet Calgary again on Tuesday back home at Xcel Energy Center.

Flames: Kick off a two-game road trip on Monday in Dallas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2023.

Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press