Calgary - March 12, 2012 - Nineteen year old rookie Sven Baertschi scored his first career NHL goal Sunday afternoon in Minnesota to help push the Calgary Flames past the Wild by a 4-3 score. In addition to the youngster’s first tally, both Jarome Iginla and Curtis Glencross would score to extend there goal scoring streaks to five and seven games respectively.
The Calgary Flames would continue their stellar play in the first period as of late when Jarome Iginla would score his 29th goal of the season at the midway mark of the frame. A sloppy breakout by the Minnesota Wild defense directly led to a turnover that Alex Tanguay would intercept, before proceeding to draw goaltender Matt Hackett out of position and executing a slick no look drop pass to the captain for the games opening marker. Just a shift later the enforcers would get involved when Guillame Desbiens and Matt Kassian would drop the gloves, needless to say Desbiens probably regretted that decision as Kassian would easily dispose of the Flames tough guy. The wild would mount a slight push back in the final minutes of the first, but would fail to garner any results as they were outshot by the Flames 13-5.
The second period would really amount to very little as both teams collectively managed just 12 shots on net as they struggled to create a consistent offensive attack. Interestingly enough there was only one penalty call throughout the entire game and that came against Calgary in the first period when they were called for a bench minor (too many men).
Just days after being recalled on an emergency basis from the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, Sven Baertschi would score his first career NHL goal just a minute into the third period. This goal would give Flames fans a real glimpse of the skill level and future of this young and talented hockey player. After outworking a defender in front of the net, Baertschi would initially redirect a point shot that would be saved by Matt Hackett but followed up on his own rebound and showed a tremendous amount of poise before beating the goaltender high over the blocker side. Unfortunately that goal would seemingly spark the Wild and more specifically forward Erik Christensen as he would go on to score two goals in just over two minutes to knot the game up. Another properly planned timeout by Brent Sutter would help settle the swing of things, as Calgary would push back in hopes of regaining the lead. They would do just that at the 10:07 mark of the third when Curtis Glencross would score his 25th goal of the season after Jarome Iginla completely whiffed on a slap shot that somehow trickled its way over into the wheelhouse of the wide open #20. Shortly thereafter Calgary would get an insurance marker as Olli Jokinen would cash in on a two on one for his 21st of the season.
That cushion would ultimately be needed as with just over a minute left to play in regulation former shark Devin Setoguchi would net his 18th goal of the season after he recovered the puck from a mad scramble in front the Flames crease. Minnesota would outshoot Calgary by a 2/1 margin in the third but fell just short as Calgary held on in the dying moments for their 32nd win of the season. With the win, Calgary temporarily moves back into eighth place in the western conference, but sit tied in points with both the LA Kings, and Colorado Avalanche. As it currently sits now, it is truly a six team race for the final two playoff spots in the west (Dallas, Phoenix, Calgary, LA, Colorado and San Jose).
Although it is only two games into an early NHL career, it is extremely hard not to get excited by the play of Sven Baertschi. Just a season after being drafted #13 overall, Baertschi has made incredible strides in his development and is completely dominating the junior level with 94 points in just 47 games. His showcasing thus far at the NHL level has been nothing short of impressive as he has shown the ability to make an extremely difficult transition from junior to professional hockey while contributing to a playoff push here in Calgary. He is without a doubt the most exciting prospect the Calgary Flames have drafted since Dion Phaneuf in 2003.
1. Jarome Iginla (1 Goal, 1 Assist)
2. Curtis Glencross (1 Goal, 1 Assist)
3. Sven Baertschi (1st NHL Goal)