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5 THINGS - FLAMES @ WILD

The Flames wrap up their road trip in Minnesota on Monday afternoon

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

FLAMES (19-14-5) at WILD (17-15-5)

3:00 p.m. MT | TV: Sportsnet West | RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN

2019-20 Season Series: 0-0-0

2018-19 Season Series: 2-1-0

 

Video: Alanna Nolan sets up today's game vs the Wild

 

Leading Scorers:

Flames:

Points - Matthew Tkachuk (32)
Goals - Elias Lindholm (15)

Wild:

Points - Eric Staal (30)
Goals - Zach Parise (14)

Special Teams:

Flames:

PP - 19.8% (14th) / PK - 84.8% (3rd)

Wild:

PP - 17.4% (20th) / PK - 76.8% (24th)

Advanced Stats:

Flames:    

Shot Attempts: 50.8% (12th)

Wild:

Shot Attempts: 48.3% (24th)


1. US

What a win.

The Flames kicked off their two-game road trip in Dallas on Sunday with a big victory, downing the Stars 5-1 and winning the season series 2-1-0.

Andrew Mangiapane opened the scoring at American Airlines Center, finishing off a tic-tac-toe play between himself and his linemates, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk. It was the winger's seventh goal of the season.

 

Video: CGY@DAL: Mangiapane finishes pretty passing play

 

Dallas was able to get on the board before the end of the frame but that would be the only offence the Stars could muster before the Flames kicked into high-gear in the second and third periods.

Tkachuk finishing off another premier passing play with the man advantage would be the first of three powerplay goals the club would pot against the Stars. Sean Monahan added another before the second period came to a close, converting on another excellent passing play in front of the net, and Mikael Backlund ended his scoring drought with a beautiful end-to-end tally in the third period.

 

Video: CGY@DAL: Backlund goes coast to coast for PPG

 

"It felt like everytime we were out there - I don't know if we got four or five opportunities tonight - but even on the ones we weren't scoring on, I felt like we were snapping it around pretty good," Tkachuk said of the powerplay. "When we're at our best, the puck is on and off our stick, whether it's a shot or hitting the open guy, and going from there."

Derek Ryan added a short-handed empty-netter to ice the victory, giving him six goals on the year.

In what was an excellent game from the entire roster, Tkachuk and Lindholm's performances stood out. Both ended the evening with three points and combined for six shots.

"They're both smart. That's the thing that stands out to me," Geoff Ward said of the pair. "They're able to get a feel now for where each other is around the ice, and that comes with playing together. How smart they are with respect to using the ice, and how smart they are to be able to understand where that next play is, and they both protect the puck well, so they can bid themselves some time to make the next play."

The quick turnaround - a 6:00 p.m. local start in Dallas and a 4:00 p.m. local puck drop in Minnesota - has the club hopeful they can carry the momentum of Sunday's win into this afternoon's battle against the Wild.

"We've got to keep the energy," Monahan said. "There's no excuse for anybody to be tired or anything like that. We're coming into a break and you want to feel good about yourself going into those things."

 

Video: "Our work isn't done yet"

 

2. THEM

The Wild are coming off a very tough loss to their divisional rivals, the Winnipeg Jets, that has them eager to reset and head into the holiday break on a positive note.

Despite coming out with jump in the opening period on Saturday, they dropped a 6-0 decision to the Jets at the Xcel Energy Center. They allowed the game's opening goal at the 14:43 mark and pushed hard to pot the equalizer before the end of the frame but a late goal from Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele at 19:54 took the wind out of their sails.

"We try to get out of there 1-1 game they score with five seconds left," Wild goaltender Alex Stalock told the team's website afterwards. "It's a poor feeling going into intermission when they score late. Never could come back. 

"They won the second period, we talked about just wanting to win the second, they won the second and obviously came out on the third and they kind of put their foot down."

"If they score and it's 1-1, we're coming in. We could say it's a different game. But we didn't," Minnesota head coach Bruce Boudreau added. "Once we got to 3-0, I thought there was a big letdown. And when they scored early in the third, I knew it was let's just get this thing over with right now because I knew there was no jump in our team. You could tell."

 

3. US VS. THEM

Monday's match-up will be the first in a three-game season series against the Wild this year. The Flames will make another trip to Minneapolis on Jan. 5 and the series will wrap up on Jan. 9 when the Wild make a stop at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Limited tickets are available HERE.

In 2018-19, the Flames went 2-1-0 against the Wild, outscoring Minnesota 6-5. Mark Giordano led all skaters in scoring with one goal and four points in three outings. Johnny Gaudreau and Minnesota's Jordan Greenway trailed him by a single point, with three in three games. David Rittich played one game against the Wild in 2018-19, making 34 saves on 35 shots and posting a .971 save percentage. Cam Talbot has faced the Wild 13 times in his career and holds a 6-6-1 record with a 2.40 GAA and a .923 save percentage in that span.

 

4. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER

THIS: Matthew Tkachuk heads into this afternoon's match-up on a four-game road scoring streak, which dates back to Nov. 25. He has four goals and 10 points during that stretch. ... THAT: Mark Giordano picked up an assist on Derek Ryan's goal last night and has now surpassed Kent Nilsson for the seventh most points in Calgary Flames history with 470.  ... THE OTHER: The Flames are in the midst of their sixth back-to-back scenario of the season after winning 5-1 in Dallas last night. The Flames now have a record this season of 3-3-0 in the first game of a back-to-back and have a record of 2-3-0 in the second game of back-to-backs. The next back-to-back for the team won't be until the end of January when they play at home against the Blues before heading to Edmonton on Jan. 28 and 29.

 

5. PLAYERS TO WATCH

Flames - Matthew Tkachuk

Tkachuk is coming off a stand-out game against the Dallas Stars in which he scored one goal and three points in the 5-1 victory on Sunday. The winger has five points in his last two skates and has now surpassed the 30-point mark on the season.

Wild - Mats Zuccarello

Minnesota's off-season acquisition, inked to five-year deal, has been very productive as of late. The 32-year-old has four points in his last three skates and is now fifth in team scoring with nine goals and 22 points in 33 outings.

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