Record: 33-18-6 Season Series: 2-0-0 Last Five: 3-0-2
Record: 28-24-3 Season Series: 0-2-0 Last Five: 2-3-0
WILD LEADING SCORERS
Flames @ Wild 6pm MT Xcel Energy Center St. Paul, MN TV: PPV Radio: The Fan 960
The Flames is still holding on to first place in the Northwest, but the gap is slowly narrowing between them and the second place Vancouver Canucks. The team has accrued three wins and two overtime points in the last five games and have 72 points.
Nine of their next 12 games are on the road including tonight's game against Minnesota and Saturday's game against Edmonton.
"We have three divisional games all in a row here," Rene Bourque said after Tuesday’s game against Vancouver. "We’re trying to increase our point total before the playoffs so nobody can catch us."
The team faces Minnesota on Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. They won both matchups against the Wild in December including a 3-2 overtime win on the road, and have won eight of the last 10 contests.
Miikka Kiprusoff has been at the top of his game with a 33-15-5 record and an overall 2.80 goals-against-average. He was spectacular in Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout loss including one of his best saves on a Canucks power play against Kyle Wellwood.
Both he and Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo were pelted with a total of 84 shots. Kiprusoff has faced an average of 39 shots in the last four games.
Jarome Iginla netted his 21st goal and a helper putting him at 823 career points and second place on the Flames all-time points list. He is eight points away from being the all-time leader currently held by Theoren Fleury at 830.
Daymond Langkow and Rene Bourque also contributed goals and Craig Conroy had two assists.
It was revealed at the morning skate that Langkow and Andre Roy will not play tonight. Langkow was hit in the wrist with a puck Tuesday, and Roy hurt himself in a fight with Darcy Hordichuk and left the game early.
That means Brandon Prust, who has recovered from a broken jaw, and Jim Vandermeer, who has been out with a leg injury, will draw into the line-up.
The Wild had a three-goal lead against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday, but allowed five unanswered goals including two shorties. Former Flame Owen Nolan tallied two goals and an assist, Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a goal and a helper and James Sheppard had two assists for Minnesota.
The 5-3 loss pushed the team down to tenth place in the West. The last time the Wild gave up a three-goal lead was against the Flames at the Dome on October 24, 2007.
Minnesota had four days off to refocus before facing the Flames tonight, and is desperate to get back in the swing of things if they want to be in the top 8. Like the Flames, it won’t be a cake walk either as their upcoming schedule is mostly on the road including a six-game trip through the west starting in Calgary next week.
Tonight’s game will be on Flames PPV with a 6 pm MT start.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
For the Flames…
Rene Bourque scored his 20th of the season against the Canucks on Tuesday putting his current five-game streak to three goals and four assists. The Lac La Biche native has two goals and nine points against the Wild including an assist during the December 29 matchup.
For the Wild...
Owen Nolan netted two goals during Saturday's loss to the Sens putting six points in his last four contests. In his one season with Calgary, he totaled 16 goals and 32 points. The Wild signed the gritty forward during the summer in a two-year contract. He has 37 career points against the Flames.
FLAMES MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Todd Bertuzzi needs three power play goals for 100 Jarome Iginla needs five goals for 400 and eight points to become the Flames all-time leader Miikka Kiprusoff needs eight wins for 200 Daymond Langkow needs three points for 600 Eric Nystrom needs three games for 100 Dion Phaneuf need eight points for 200 Cory Sarich needs three assists for 100
Brandon Prust and Jim Vandermeer are expected to return from injuries tonight. They will replace Daymond Langkow and Andre Roy in the Flames line-up. Wayne Primeau (foot) and Rhett Warrener (shoulder) are out indefinitely.