WILD (11-9-2) at FLAMES (9-12-2)
TV: FS-N (HD), SNET-CGY (HD)
Last 10: Minnesota 5-5-0; Calgary 3-5-2
Second of six meetings this season between these Northwest Division rivals. Martin Havlat scored the decisive goal 4:20 into the third period as Minnesota won 2-1 on home ice back on Nov. 5. Rene Bourque opened the scoring for Calgary before Cal Clutterbuck evened things up later in the first period. Winning goalie Niklas Backstrom stopped 33 shots.
The Flames are back home following a difficult 1-2-2 road trip. While it featured the 10,000th goal in franchise history, scored shorthanded by Curtis Glencross in Philadelphia on Friday, they totaled just nine goals in five games (not counting the decisive goal credited for their shootout win over the Flyers). The Wild, meanwhile, have been struggling to keep the puck out of their own net, yielding 20 goals while losing three of their last four games.
Wild: Backstrom has seen his goals-against average and save percentage take a major hit over his last three starts, as he’s given up 18 goals on 96 shots. Veteran backup Jose Theodore started in a 5-2 win over Nashville on Friday before Minnesota turned back to Backstrom the following night in Colorado. The Wild suffered a 7-4 defeat, with Backstrom getting pulled for Theodore in the third period.
"He wasn't sharp but the players in front didn't help him," coach Todd Richards said. "I really liked our first period. Then the game gets away from us and we make a couple of bad decisions with the puck."
Flames: Bourque notched the shootout winner as Calgary got a big two points in Philadelphia on Friday, but the Flames came up short in trying to complete a two-day sweep of Pennsylvania, dropping a 4-1 decision in Pittsburgh on Saturday. They became the latest NHL team to have no answers for Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, who recorded the hat trick and extended his points streak to 12 games.
"Up until tonight, I thought we had a good trip," defenseman Mark Giordano
said. "We were playing well. We got points in three of four games and we did deserve maybe a better fate than that. Tonight, we didn't play well. We know we didn't play well. We know we have to get on a roll at some point and start piling up some wins."
Martin Havlat has 4 goals and 9 assists over his last eight games for the Wild. ... In addition to his shootout goal against the Flyers, Bourque had the Flames’ only goal in losses to the Devils and Penguins.
Minnesota defenseman Clayton Stoner is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Already on injured reserve are goalie Josh Harding (ACL/MCL) and forwards Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion), James Sheppard (knee), Chuck Kobasew (groin) and Guillaume Latendresse (sports hernia/hip).
Calgary has defenseman Adam Pardy (shoulder) and forwards Daymond Langkow (neck), Ryan Stone (knee), Ales Kotalik (knee) and Raitis Ivanans (concussion) on injured reserve.
Kyle Brodziak made the most of his nearly 14 minutes of ice time in the Wild’s loss on Saturday, scoring a pair of goals, recording a plus-2 rating and getting into a fight. ... Kiprusoff made 24 of his 39 saves Saturday in the first period.
Calgary managed to escape the first period against Pittsburgh in a scoreless tie thanks to the brilliance of its goaltender, but Kiprusoff was unable to win the game by himself.
"We've got to give Miikka a rest," forward Olli Jokinen told the Calgary Herald. "We didn't have any business still being in the game after two periods but we were still in because of him. We've got to find a way."