Toffoli scores shootout winner as Flames top Wild, 1-0
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Tyler Toffoli scored in the sudden death round of the shootout to send the Calgary Flames to a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Toffoli beat Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson five-hole to end Tuesday’s game, which nearly ended in overtime.
Both teams scored in the third round of the shootout, but Matt Boldy’s missed backhander for Minnesota set the stage for Toffoli to win it.
Gustavsson made 26 saves for Minnesota, while Jacob Markstrom stopped all 40 shots in net for Calgary for his first shutout of the year. The 40 shots by the Wild were the most surrendered by the Flames all season.
Tuesday was the second night of a back-to-back for Calgary, which beat Dallas 5-4 on Monday.
“We haven’t done that much this year,” Markstrom said of the back-to-back wins. “Now you just refocus, relax when we get home tonight and then refocus for the next game.”
Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon appeared to have scored the game-winner with 1:36 remaining in overtime when he buried a Ryan Hartman rebound. The play was reviewed, however, and it was deemed Spurgeon was offside as he skated backwards into Calgary’s zone.
“We just looked at it. We think it’s offside,” said Wild coach Dean Evason. “He definitely released it before it got over the blue line by an inch. So, yeah, hard to argue with that.”
Flames coach Darryl Sutter said he knew right away that Spurgeon was offside.
“When you’re skating backwards, the puck’s gotta be on your stick,” he said. “It’s the first thing I said is they gotta look at that in a hurry because I don’t think it was on his stick.”
Some of Calgary’s players had already headed to the locker room and had to return to the bench after the call was overturned. After Minnesota’s players stopped their celebration at center ice, play eventually resumed.
“I think there was 10 of us in the room. We just thought the game was over, obviously,” Toffoli said. “Obviously we heard everyone screaming to get back out there. We went back out there and Darryl told us to get our heads back into it, and we found a way.”
Tuesday marked the second time the two teams played in a four-day span. Minnesota won 3-0 in Calgary on Saturday, with Gustavsson making 31 saves in the shutout.
Minnesota dominated Calgary in shots on goal, with the Wild out-shooting the Flames 40-26.
The Wild had several golden opportunities in the third period. Hartman was stopped on a breakaway after a nice pass from linemate Kirill Kaprizov, and forward Ryan Reaves missed a good look on the doorstep a few minutes later.
Frederick Gaudreau also had a good look for Minnesota early in overtime, but his shot was blocked into the protective netting. Mikael Backlund had Calgary’s best shot in overtime but was denied by Gustavsson.
“These games are real fun. It’s very close games and there’s lots of opportunities back and forth,” Gustavsson said. “They had a breakaway in overtime. We had a few good chances. It’s the way the game goes.”
Play was chippy throughout the game, with several scrums after the whistle. One of those resulted in two penalties on Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman during a first-period dustup.
WILD CELEBRATE PRIDE NIGHT
The Wild hosted its second annual Pride Night on Tuesday. Players used Pride pucks and Pride tape on their sticks during warmups. Jack Jablonski, a former Minnesota high school hockey player who has been paralyzed since 2011 and came out as gay last year, performed the “Let’s Play Hockey!” chant pregame. Wild defenseman Jon Merrill donated tickets to Tuesday’s game to Queerspace Collective, a mentorship program for LGBTQIA+ youth in Minnesota. The Wild players wore Pride jerseys during the inaugural Pride Night last year but did not on Tuesday.
Flames: Host Anaheim on Friday.
Wild: At Winnipeg on Wednesday. ___
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