CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Interim coach John Torchetti will take two points any way he can get them as the Minnesota Wild try to push for a playoff spot.
Jason Pominville and Erik Haula each had a goal and an assist, and the slumping Wild beat the Calgary Flames 5-3 on Wednesday night.
The Wild have won their first two games under Torchetti after a 1-11-2 stretch cost coach Mike Yeo his job. They are within two points of Nashville and the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
“Any win on the road is a good win,” Torchetti said.
Pominville entered with only one goal and one assist in his last 23 games. He set up Haula for the game’s first goal midway through the first period, and then was set up by Haula for a one-timer late in the second that made it 4-2.
“We weren’t that far off, but at the same time at key moments of the game we weren’t finding ways to win. Now we are,” Pominville said. “We’ve got to keep it going and keep this streak alive.”
The third member of that line, Nino Neiderreiter, assisted on both goals.
“We try to keep it simple and make sure that we have that thought in our mind — first take care of our own end and then get north,” Haula said about the strong game for his line. “It doesn’t matter at this time who scores, but it’s always nice to get the line involved.”
Jason Zucker, Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle, into an empty net, also scored for Minnesota.
Deryk Engelland, David Jones and Mikeal Backlund scored for Calgary. The Flames have lost three straight.
“You get down three and it’s just an uphill battle the rest of the night,” Calgary captain Mark Giordano said. “We definitely cost ourselves tonight with some mistakes, again, made a push late but it’s too hard in this league to keep getting down two, three goals and trying to claw back into games.”
The loss capped off a bad day for the Flames. First, they learned starting goalie Karri Ramo would miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Then NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman upheld defenseman Dennis Wideman’s 20-game suspension for cross-checking a linesman.
“It’s maybe a little frustrating when we look at the standings and see how far down we are, but it’s a business and we have to come and winning’s the result everyone wants,” Jones said.
The Wild took a 2-0 lead with a short-handed goal with 26 seconds left in the first when Zucker ripped a shot over Jonas Hiller’s shoulder.
Minnesota went up by three at 3:09 of the second on Koivu’s 12th goal. It was the 10th power-play goal allowed in the last four games for the Flames.
Calgary got on the scoreboard at 11:28 of the second on Engelland’s first goal in 56 games.
Jones made it 3-2 at 16:38 on a weird one, his shot deflecting into the air off the stick of Wild defenseman Mike Reilly, hitting his defense partner Matt Dumba in the face, and fluttering over goalie Devan Dubnyk.
Backlund scored on a power play with 4:11 left.
Dubnyk stopped 25 shots for Minnesota.
NOTES: Hiller had 19 saves for Calgary. He has lost all three starts since Ramo’s injury, giving up 12 goals. … Minnesota’s Zach Parise had an assist for his 600th NHL point. … Calgary D Ladislav Smid (upper body) did not return after leaving in the first period. … Wideman served the eighth game of his suspension.
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