Ryan's Place

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Wild Beat Flames in Opener 6-3



The crowd was roaring, the Minnesota Wild were ready, and Miikka Kiprusoff and the Calgary Flames came out flat.

Marc Chouinard scored three goals and Todd White added a goal and two assists, leading the Wild past the Flames 6-3 on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard had three assists, and Brent Burns and Kyle Wanvig each contributed a power-play goal for Minnesota, which surprised defending Western Conference champion Calgary and its stellar goalie Kiprusoff with an outburst of offense.

The Wild, who held a 16-3 shot advantage in the first period, led 3-0 until late in the second.

"You spot a team that much momentum, point-blank chances, stuff like that, it's not a good game," said Jarome Iginla, whose goal pulled the Flames within 4-3 midway through the third period. "We were standing still the whole game. It's not good enough."

Dwayne Roloson, an All-Star in 2004, had 28 saves for the Wild, a small but speedy team that's never been much of a scoring threat but figures to take advantage of the league's new rules designed to open up the game and make it more fan-friendly.

"It's going to be up in the air pretty much every night," said Chouinard, a five-year veteran who notched his first NHL hat trick after totaling a career-high 11 goals in 2003-04.

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