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Minnesota Wild win fifth straight with sloppy victory over the Calgary Flames

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The Minnesota Wild struggled early, but found a way to defeat the Calgary Flames 3-2 Monday at the Xcel Energy Center.

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Zach Parise re-directed a pass from Jason Pominville into the open net behind Reto Berra for the eventual game-winning goal. It was the only truly dominant shift of the game by one line for either team. Parise and Pominville, along with Mikael Granlund, put on a passing clinic before the goal was scored.

“Tonight we played in spurts,” Parise said. “Tonight was a lot of neutral zone play. We had a couple decent shifts. We had a couple chances, but nothing great and finally we strung a good one together in the third and were able to pop one in.”

The Wild (34-21-7) have now won nine and gotten at least a point in 11 of the last 13 games and have build a nine-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets and Vancouver Canucks, who are tied for ninth place in the Western Conference.

“With a five-day break, you never want to go into those long breaks on a loss,” Parise said. “So, luckily we were able to pull it out.”

The two teams were unable to sustain much of anything and played most of the first two periods in the neutral zone.

“As a goalie, it was tough going long spurts without any action,” Darcy Kuemper said. “I was just trying to do my best to stay mentally into it.”

The game was ugly in the first period, but both teams got on the board in the second with equally ugly goals.

Kyle Brodziak scored his fifth goal of the season after Matt Cooke poked the puck off of Reto Berra’s stick. The Flames goaltender had no where to go with the puck after his two defensemen came to him and Brodziak had a wide open net to get the game’s first goal.

The Flames (23-31-7) evened the score late in period when Mike Cammalleri had a shot by Dennis Wideman carom to him in the face off circle on the backdoor off at least one skate. Cammalleri had a wide open net to shoot at with Kuemper playing the shot.

Jared Spurgeon put the Wild ahead for good early in the third period with a shot from above the top of the circle through traffic. Berra could not see the shot with Charlie Coyle and two penalty killers in line of vision.

The Wild return to action Saturday against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center.

Three Stars

No. 3 - Darcy Kueper. The Wild goaltender stopped 21 shots.

No. 2 - Zach Parise. The Wild forward scored the game-winning goal.

No. 1 - Mikael Granlund. The Wild forward recorded two assists.

Boxscore

Calgary………0 1 1 - 2

Minnesota……0 1 2 - 3

First Period - None. Penalties - None.

Second Period - 1, Minnesota, Brodziak 5 (Cooke), 9:02. 2, Calgary, Cammalleri 14 (Wideman), 16:41 Penalties - Backlund, CGY (holding), 4:31.

Third Period - 3, Minnesota, Spurgeon 2 (Suter, Granlund), 5:49 (pp). 4, Minnesota, Parise 21 (Pominville, Granlund), 14:44. 5, Calgary, Giordano 10 (Granlund, Colborne), 16:01. Penalties - Ballard, MIN (goaltender interference), 3:28; Giordano, CGY (hooking), 4:55.

Shots on goal - Calgary 7-7-9 23. Minnesota 9-12-6 27.

Goalies - Calgary, Berra (24-27). Minnesota, Kuemper (21-23). Referees - Frederick L’Ecuyer, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen - Ryan Galloway, Derek Nansen.

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