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5 THINGS - FLAMES @ WILD

The Flames kick off their two-game road trip in Saint Paul on Sunday

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

FLAMES (21-17-5) at WILD (20-17-5)

5:00 p.m. MT | TV: Sportsnet | RADIO: Sportsnet 960 The FAN

2019-20 Season Series: 0-1-0

 

Leading Scorers:

Flames:

Points - Matthew Tkachuk (36)
Goals - Elias Lindholm (16)

Wild:

Points - Eric Staal (33)
Goals - Staal (16)

Special Teams:

Flames:

PP - 18.1% (18th) / PK - 82.7% (7th)

Wild:

PP - 17.9% (21st) / PK - 77% (24th)

Advanced Stats:

Flames:    

Shot Attempts: 50.5% (12th)

Wild:

Shot Attempts: 48.8% (21st)


1. US

The Flames are coming off of a victory on home ice on Thursday thanks to their 4-3 win over the New York Rangers.

Johnny Gaudreau led the way with two points against the Blueshirts, giving him 33 points on the year. The Flames also received goals from Mikael Backlund , Derek Ryan , and Sean Monahan .

Cam Talbot got the start against his former club, making 24 saves on the 27 shots he faced.

"When we went up 4-3 it kind of became a checking game after that. There wasn't a ton of chances either way, lot of stuff came from the outside so, like I said, give our guys lots of credit in front of me," Talbot said afterwards. "They locked it down pretty tight and that's what playoff teams do in those situations. That's what we need to start doing on a more consistent basis."

Sunday's game will be the start of a two-game road swing for the club and the team will have plenty of support in the stands for both outings with this being the annual father/mentor trip. 

The Flames brought Lanny McDonald and Colin Patterson on the trek, giving the team and their guests a chance to bond with members of the alumni group in a unique setting.

"I wish, back in our day, we would have had this event because our dads would have loved it," Patterson told CalgaryFlames.com. "It's so neat to see ... whether it's a dad, an uncle, a grandfather, or a brother, it's very touching to see the way everyone responds and gets together.

"I'm looking forward to watching the guys play. I'm a big fan of the game, a big fan of the Flames, so it's neat to be with the families of the players because you get that real direct feeling of what it would be like to watch your brother or son or grandson play. It's going to be neat to live through that."

 

2. THEM

It will be a quick turnaround for the Wild, who picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday and pulled them within striking distance of the wild card spots in the west. Eric Staal played the hero, scoring on the powerplay at the 1:52 mark of the extra frame.

"This building has got to be two points for us night in and night out," Staal told NHL.com after the home win. "Divisional game, important points, we'd like to do it in regulation, but it was a good job fighting with it and getting that game tied up and picking up the two points."

Marcus Foligno and Luke Kunin also scored for the Wild. Devan Dubnyk made 19 saves in the victory.

Minnesota now sports a 20-17-5 record and with 45 points on the year, they're just three points back of the Jets, who occupy the second wild card spot, and four points behind the Oilers, who sit in the first wild card spot.

"That extra point as we know is going to become so vital for somebody," Boudreau told MinnesotaWild.com, talking about the tight race for playoff positions. "I'd rather it be us than anybody else." 

 

3. US VS. THEM

This is the second of three meetings between the two teams this season. The Wild took the opening match-up on Dec. 23, downing the visiting Flames 3-0 at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota received goals from Joel Eriksson Ek, Luke Kunin, and Eric Staal while Devan Dubnyk made 22 saves.

The season series will wrap up on Thursday at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Game time is 7:00 p.m. MT and limited tickets are available HERE.

 

4. THIS, THAT & THE OTHER

THIS: Mikael Backlund scored his 13th career short-handed goal on Thursday and has now passed Paul Ranheim to tie Bill Clement and Jarome Iginla for the third-most career short-handed goals in Flames franchise history. Backlund now only trails Kent Nilsson (16) and Theo Fleury (28) on the all-time list. … THAT: David Rittich has 99 NHL appearances under his belt in his young NHL career. The 27-year-old sits in 10th in Calgary franchise history for the most games played as a Flame. Rittich has a career 52-25-3 record, the seventh-most wins by a goaltender in Calgary franchise history.. … THE OTHER: With his goal on Thursday, Johnny Gaudreau recorded the 300th even strength point of his career. Gaudreau is just the seventh player in Calgary's franchise history to record at least 300 career points playing even strength.

 

5. PLAYERS TO WATCH

Flames - Johnny Gaudreau

The winger is coming off a strong performance against the Rangers on Thursday, netting a goal and two points in the 4-3 victory over the Blueshirts. Gaudreau now has four points in his last four skates and sits third in team scoring with 33 points

Wild - Eric Staal

The Wild's captain has been a key offensive contributer all year and picked up Saturday's win for his club, scoring 1:52 into overtime to ice the 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Staal leads the team with 16 goals and 33 points this season.

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