WILD (5-5-1) at FLAMES (3-4-2)
TV: FS-WI, FS-N+, SNET-W
Last 10: Minnesota 4-5-1
Season series: First of five meetings between these Northwest Division rivals. The Flames took four of six from the Wild last season. Jarome Iginla's four goals for Calgary led all scorers. Dany Heatley paced Minnesota with three goals.
Big story: Although the Wild haven't started quite as fast as they might have hoped after the offseason acquisitions of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, they're right in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference standings, and they're also relatively healthy. That's more than the Flames can say at the moment, with an injury to workhorse goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff looming large early.
Wild: A three-game losing streak to start February was beginning to weigh on Minnesota, but Devin Setoguchi struck just in the nick of time on Saturday night against a red-hot Predators team that was visiting Xcel Energy Center. Setoguchi, who had registered just a pair of assists over the first 10 games of the season, one-timed a Mikko Koivu feed with 38.2 seconds left in overtime to give the Wild a 2-1 win. Niklas Backstrom stopped 26 shots and Cal Clutterbuck scored in regulation.
"You want to get a chance to get back to help the team," said Backstrom, lifted after the second period against Vancouver two nights earlier. "Every time you get pulled, it's not fun. You take it pretty personal and you want to go out there and know you're not letting your teammates down."
Flames: Kiprusoff has missed the last two games for Calgary, which has given those starts to 24-year-old Leland Irving (seven starts prior to this season) while calling up 26-year-old Daniel Taylor (one prior game for Los Angeles during the 2007-08 season) from Abbotsford of the AHL. Irving picked up his second career win Thursday in Columbus, but yielded five goals over the final two periods in Vancouver on Saturday night in a 5-1 loss. Still, coach Bob Hartley liked what he saw from his goalie.
"Leland Irving kept us in the game. Without him, it would have been much worse than this," Hartley said. "We played a great first period and then second and third period the bottom line is they outworked us, they wanted it way more than us."
Who's hot: Lee Stempniak has goals in consecutive games for the Flames.
Injury report: Minnesota defenseman Jared Spurgeon is on injured reserve with a bruised foot. … Kiprusoff was placed on injured reserve with a sprained knee, as was forward Mikael Backlund, who is expected to miss a month. Forwards Lance Bouma (knee) and Sven Baertschi (hip) are also on injured reserve. Forward Michael Cammalleri (hip) is day-to-day.
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