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Calgary comes out on top in 2-1 slugfest over Wild

December 15, 2018

Each team was still dealing with the fallout from their last meeting, what with Wild captain Mikko Koivu and Flames center Mikael Backlund out with injuries suffered in the Dec. 6 game.

But those werent the only reminders of that 2-0 loss for the Wild in the rematch.

Three fights, crowded penalty boxes and blood splattered on the ice all in the first period teed off a slugfest that oozed a strained history, a physical tug-of-war that the Flames eventually won 2-1 Saturday afternoon in front of 18,882 at Xcel Energy Center.

Since barely a week had elapsed since they last played each other, what transpired in Calgary still seemed to be fresh on the players minds.

Only 20 seconds after puck drop, winger Matthew Tkachuk challenged defenseman Matt Dumba to a fight a nod to Dumbas heavy hit on Backlund late in the previous game that sidelined Backlund with a concussion.

But the Flames werent the only ones hobbled from that contest.

Koivu hasnt suited up since after getting kneed by Calgary captain Mark Giordano, a hit that saddled Koivu with a lower-body injury.

And near the end of the first, Hendricks fought Giordano acknowledging the only other apparent loose end.

The fisticuffs, however, didnt stop there.

Only 24 seconds after that fight, defenseman Ryan Suter dropped the gloves with winger Sam Bennett after Bennett was pestering winger Nino Niederreiter.

It was just the third fight of Suters career, a clash that left his nose bloodied.

By then, the Wild was behind by a goal.

Giordano scored a shorthanded goal 12 minutes, 3 seconds into the period, capitalizing after he blocked a shot by Dumba at the other end.

Consecutive penalties late in the first and early in the second gave Calgary an abbreviated 5-on-3 power play and left four Wild players sandwiched in the box.

But the Wilds penalty killers were steady, and their ability to withstand the pressure seemed to boost the Wild because at 3:30, the Wild evened it on a slick goal by rookie Jordan Greenway.

Promoted to winger Jason Zuckers spot alongside center Eric Staal and winger Mikael Granlund with Zucker out due to illness, Greenway kept the puck after skating around the net until he deposited it over Flames goalie David Rittichs glove from the right faceoff circle.

What made the response even more impressive was the Wild did it shorthanded, as Dumba did not return for the second and third periods.

But the admirable effort couldnt propel the Wild to a lead.

Instead, 8:45 into the third, Tkachuk delivered the decisive blow a far-side shot over Dubnyks stick through traffic.

Dubnyk finished with 24 saves, while Rittich had 34.

The Wild went 0-for-4 on the power play, with the Flames going 0-for-3.

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