ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matthew Tkachuk scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period for Calgary, David Rittich made 34 saves, and the Flames beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Saturday.
Mark Giordano scored short-handed in the first period for the Pacific Division-leading Flames, who are 11-2-1 in their last 14 games, with 10 wins in regulation. They lead the NHL with 50 third-period goals.
Jordan Greenway’s second-period goal was all the Wild were able to muster after winning their previous two games against Montreal and Florida by a combined 12-2 margin. They went on a power play with 2:36 left and pulled goalie Devan Dubnyk a few seconds later, but they failed to use the two-man advantage to forge a tie.
With 11:15 remaining, after James Neal’s pass hit Nick Seeler’s skate and slid backward, Tkachuk snapped the puck through traffic and past Dubnyk’s stick for the lead. Tkachuk is third on the Flames with 14 goals this season.
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Nine days after the Flames beat the Wild 2-0 in a tension-filled game in Calgary, both sides brought their grudges to the ice along with their sticks and skates. Forty seconds after the opening faceoff, Tkachuk fought Wild defenceman Matt Dumba, who levelled Flames centre Mikael Backlund with an open-ice check in the final minute of the matchup on Dec. 6. Dumba was retaliating for a knee-on-knee hit Wild captain Mikko Koivu took from Giordano earlier in that game.
Koivu (lower body) and Backlund (upper body) each missed their fourth straight game. Dumba didn’t play in the last two periods. After his power-play shot was blocked, the Flames went the other way for a 2-on-1 rush. Mark Jankowski fed Giordano, whose top-shelf shot lodged itself in the net underneath Dubnyk’s water bottle.
Shortly before the first intermission, Wild forward J.T. Brown fought with Flames defenceman T.J. Brodie. A little later, Wild defenceman Ryan Suter even dropped his gloves for a scuffle with Flames forward Sam Bennett. That was Suter’s first fight, according to hockeyfights.com , since 2009.
The Wild have let their opponent score first in 22 of 32 games this season. They climbed right back in this one after killing a 5-on-3 power play, when Greenway pivoted from the top of the right circle and sniped the puck past Rittich 3:30 into the second period.
Giordano became the first defenceman in Flames franchise history to score a short-handed goal in consecutive games. He has two goals and seven assists in his last four games. … In addition to Koivu, the Wild were missing another top-eight scorer, with LW Jason Zucker scratched because of an illness. This was Zucker’s first absence since April 4, 2017. … Dubnyk stopped 24 shots. … The Flames are 16-2 this season when scoring first.
Flames: Play at St. Louis on Sunday, the second stop on a three-game trip.
Wild: Host San Jose on Tuesday night to wrap up a four-game homestand.
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Dave Campbell, The Associated Press