Game Preview: Flames vs Minnesota Wild

CALGARY FLAMES (3-4-2 8 points) vs. MINNESOTA WILD (5-5-1 11 points) GAME 10

 

PREVIEW:

The Flames welcome the Minnesota Wild to the Dome tonight for the team’s first of five meetings this season. Neither team has got off to a particular good start as both teams are on the outside looking in, on the top eight in the West.

The Flames are coming off a lackluster effort against the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, where the Canucks had their way with the Flames on their way to a 5-1 victory. Saturday’s game wrapped up a mini three-game road trip for the Flames, which saw them collect 4 of a possible 6 points.

The Flames will once again be without star goalie Miikka Kiprusoff tonight, as Leland Irving will get his second start of the season. Kiprusoff skated this morning and can be activated off of injured reserve tomorrow at the earliest.

Whether Kiprusoff is ready to return by Wednesdays clash against the Dallas Stars is yet to be seen but the Flames added depth to their goaltending position today but claiming Joey MacDonald off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings.

The Flames will look to improve on their 1-3-1 home record tonight as they have allowed 20 goals in those five games.

There has definitely been a transition period for the Wild after they made the biggest slash in the off-season, signing both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

The Wild have not beaten the Flames in five games, going 0-4-1 in the process and have not yet won a game on the road this season (0-4-0).

This is also the beginning of a back-to-back for the Wild as they head to Vancouver to face the Cancuks tomorrow night, so there is even more ephasis to get their road trip off on the right foot tonight.

Nicklas Backstrom will get the start for the Wild tonight and will also be looking to get back on track against the Flames after posting a 5.39 GAA in his past two starts versus them.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Wild:

1- GLENCROSS-TANGUAY-IGINLA                            1- PARISE-KOIVU-COYLE

2- HUDLER-STREET-CERVENKA                               2- HEATLEY-GRANLUND-SETOGUCHI

3- COMEAU-STAJAN-STEMPNIAK                             3- CULLEN-BRODZIAK-CLUTTERBUCK

4- BEGIN-JONES-JACKMAN                                       4- RUPP-KONOPKA-BOUCHARD

 

1- BOUWMEESTER-GIORDANO                                1- SUTER-BRODIN

2- WIDEMAN-BRODIE                                                 2- GILBERT-STONER

3- SARICH-BUTLER                                                    3- FALK-PROSSER

 

1- IRVING                                                                    1- BACKSTROM

2- TAYLOR                                                                   2- HARDING

 

EXTRA- SMITH, BABCHUK                                        EXTRA- KASSIAN, SCANDELLA

INJURIES:

Flames: G- Miikka Kiprusoff (Knee- IR), LW- Mike Cammalleri (Hip Flexor- Day-to-Day), C- Mikael Backlund (Knee- IR), LW- Sven Baertschi (Hip Flexor- IR)

Wild: D- Jared Spurgeon (Foot- IR)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

A. Tanguay

9

4

5

9

-1

L. Stempniak

9

5

2

7

2

D. Wideman

9

2

5

7

E

J. Hudler

6

2

5

7

1

C. Glencross

9

4

2

6

-3

 

Wild

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

Z. Parise

11

6

4

10

-1

M. Koivu

11

2

7

9

-2

T. Gilbert

11

3

4

7

-2

D. Heatley

11

4

2

6

-3

R. Suter

11

0

6

6

-7

 

PP-

Flames: 25.0% (4th)

Wild: 17.1% (19th)

PK-

Flames: 71.9% (27th)

Wild: 85.4% (8th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

1. CHICAGO

12

10

0

2

22

2. ANAHEIM

11

8

2

1

17

3. VANCOUVER

11

7

2

2

16

4. SAN JOSE

11

7

2

2

16

5. DETROIT

12

7

4

1

15

6. NASHVILLE

12

5

3

4

14

7. ST. LOUIS

11

6

4

1

13

8. DALLAS

12

6

5

1

13

 

9. EDMONTON

12

5

4

3

13

10. PHOENIX

12

5

5

2

12

11. MINNESOTA

11

5

5

1

11

12. CALGARY

9

3

4

2

8

13. COLORADO

10

4

6

0

8

14. LOS ANGELES

10

3

5

2

8

15. COLUMBUS

12

3

7

2

8

 

MY TAKE:

As good as the road trip started for the Flames, things hit a wall on Saturday against the Canucks.

It was probably one of their worst efforts of the season and the Canucks made them pay for it.

The Canucks were going to be a tough team to beat regardless of how the Flames played but to get beat the way they did, brought back memories of the past three seasons.

The Flames cannot be a team that takes two steps forwards and one step back. They cannot be a team who decides to mail it in at the end of a road trip and lose out on two points. They simply cannot afford it.

Saying that, tonight’s game becomes even more important and a must win against a team the Flames have games in hand on and are fighting with, for a spot in the playoffs.

The Flames have to be better at home and it has to start tonight against a Wild team who has been inconsistent and has not won on the road this season.

The loss to the Canucks is something the Flames can and need to learn from but it also became evident that if Kiprusoff’s injury is long term, the Flames are going to be in trouble.

I do not read much into the Flames picking up MacDonald from Detroit other than it could be the start of more moves in the future.

The W and the two points are the only things that matter in the Flames dressing room tonight.

 

 

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