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Minnesota Wild 4  Calgary Flames 2

Flat First Falls Flames

D'Arcy McGrath

September 23, 2001


A listless opening period coupled with a rusty goaltender cost the Flames an exhibition contents in St. Paul on Sunday afternoon.

In one of the last chances this preseason for bubble players to impress Greg Gilbert, few managed to step up to the task in falling behind the Minnesota Wild 3-0 in the first period.


The Wild opened the scoring only 5:39 in when Mike Vernon mishandled the puck in his feet, resulting in an even strength goal by Andrew Burnette. 


Just over two minutes later the Wild were up two goals when the recently acquired Sergei Zholtok notched a powerplay goal. Craig Johnson put the homeside up three when he came out of the penalty box and deftly beat Vernon on a two on one, primarily due to a smart pass from former Flames, Aaron Gavey.


Vernon, seeing his first action of the preseason, was beaten on three goals in eight shots in the first period. Given the weighty personal issues labouring the Vernon family in Calgary the goaltenders lack of attention to detail can certainly be understood.


A combination of a big lead from the home side and an angry visiting team had the Flames march back into things in the second period.


Dominating the period by a shot margin of 15-3 finally saw the Flames rewarded when Igor Kravchuk and Rob Niedermayer both scored late powerplay goals to bring the Flames within one.


The goals were only 30 seconds apart and came with less than two minutes left in the frame.


The Flames had some good chances in the third but were unable to beat former Flame Dwayne Roloson, before Darby Hendrickson iced the game with an empty netter.


CNNSI Boxscore


Bubble Brigade


The game might mark the last look for many players on the bubble, looking to crack the Flames lineup.


Of the group including Scott Nichol, Jamie Wright, Rico Fata and Chuck Kobasew, Kobasew likely did the most for his case, getting plenty of chances despite coming up empty on the scoreboard. Kobasew played a solid up and down game, showing a defensive headiness rare for a 19 year old. Both Nichol and Fata had third period scraps to make a case for their chances.


On the blueline Micki Dupont played a fiesty game, getting several chances on goal and seeing some powerplay time.