Hockey Night in Canada


Mike Smith gets Wild to lead Flames to shutout win

Mike Smith pumped his fist after a 31-save shutout for the Calgary Flames in a 2-0 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

Elias Lindholm scores 2 as Calgary claims 4th consecutive victory

Flames goalie Mike Smith, seen checking Zach Parise of the Wild, made 31 saves to help lead Calgary to a 2-0 win over Minnesota on Thursday. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press )

Mike Smith pumped his fist after a 31-save shutout for the Calgary Flames in a 2-0 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

Calgary's goaltender earned his second shutout of the season, the 38th of his career, and improved to 5-0 in his last five appearances.

"That's the only time of the game I can celebrate, is when we win the game," Smith said. "It's always nice, especially in a close game to hear the horn go off at the end and get the two points.

"I could honestly care less about the shutout. It's just a bonus, but I'm more celebrating because that's the only time I can in a game."

Watch as Mike Smith, Flames blank Wild:

Calgary defeats Minnesota 2-0, Mike Smith 31 saves for 2nd shutout of season. 1:37

Elias Lindholm scored twice for his 14th goal and 15th goals of the season. The Swede has 32 points in 29 games in his first season as a Flame.

His career season-high is 17 goals for the Carolina Hurricanes in 2014-15.

Johnny Gaudreau and Calgary captain Mark Giordano assisted on both Lindholm goals Thursday.

"We find ways to score. It's good for us and good for the team," Lindholm said. "Smitty made some huge saves for us at key moments so I have to thank him for this one."

Calgary topped the Pacific Division at 18-9-2 and improved to 13-2 this season when scoring the first goal of the game. The Flames are at home to the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Minnesota (15-11-2) dropped to 1-2 on a road trip in which the Wild face five different Canadian teams in a row for the first time in franchise history. Minnesota is in Edmonton on Friday.

Elias Lindholm of the Flames, top, celebrates a goal during Calgary's 2-0 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press )

Wild starting goaltender Alex Stalock stopped 18 shots in the loss.

"I thought we were sloppy," Minnesota head coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Right from the get-go they had two really good chances in the first five minutes.

"I always think for the most part the effort was there, but a lot of our guys weren't handling the puck well. Alex played a really good game and kept us in there, especially at the beginning."

The Flames had rallied for a 9-6 win in Columbus on Tuesday when Calgary trailed the Blue Jackets 4-1 early in the second period.

Smith relieved David Rittich after one period and stopped 13 shots in the win in Columbus.

Smith delivers booty 

Smith held off Minnesota on a pair of power-play chances in the second period and another to end Thursday's game when the Wild had two attackers with an empty net.

"He was good tonight," Boudreau said. "When he's on, he's really on. Everybody knows that. When he's off, he's really off."

Smith got his shoulder on a point-blank shot from Minnesota's Matt Dumba, the top-scoring defenceman in the NHL, during a second-period power-play for a key stop in the game.

"I think the guys have bailed me out a lot this year so I think it's nice to make some saves and contribute on the team's success," the 36-year-old veteran said.

Smith checked Wild leading goal scorer Zach Parise in the second period when the goalie came out of his net to play the puck.

"I wasn't trying to hit him, I was just trying to protect the puck," Smith said. "They teach you that in minor hockey, to turn your back and get your big butt out."


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