CALGARY, AB -- It is a time of change in the State Of Hockey.
Last Saturday, after losing their eighth straight game, the Minnesota Wild fired their head coach Mike Yeo and brought in Iowa Wild bench boss John Torchetti as a replacement in the interim. At the time of the coaching swap, the Wild held a 3-12-4 record in their last 19 games and had taken quite a nosedive in the Central Division standings.
Prior to Torchetti joining the team, the Wild had 56 points in 55 games, sitting well back of a playoff spot in their division and were losing ground in the wildcard race.
The coaching change sparked the Wild in their first game of the Torchetti era, picking up their first win in the past 26 days in a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.
"A win is a win, don't get me wrong, but they way we played, too, we have to start building the right way, and we did that," Mikko Koivu told MinnesotaWild.com afterwards. "We talked about playing a full 60-minute game, and we did that."
Now, the challenge is sustaining that momentum.
With 58 points on the year, they sit four points out of a wildcard spot in the Western Conference. Stringing together a few wins on their Western Canadian road swing could be a major stepping stone for the team as they move forward during the stretch drive.
"They'll want to be hungry to come out and prove themselves again," Torchetti told MinnesotaWild.com on Monday. "But we just want them feeling good about themselves, and then we'll make our corrections and adjustments, and keep on improving and getting better."
Wednesday's game will be the first meeting between the Wild and Flames this season. Last year, Minnesota went 3-0-0 against Calgary with Thomas Vanek and Charlie Coyle leading the series in scoring with three points each.
BREAKING DOWN THE WILD
Power Play: 17.5 percent overall (30 goals scored in 171 chances with the man advantage), 13.5 percent on the road (12 goals scored in 89 chances with the man advantage)
Penalty Kill: 78.3 percent overall (31 goals allowed in 143 times being short-handed), 74.7 percent on the road (21 goals allowed in 83 times being short-handed)
2015-16 Record vs. the Flames: 0-0-0
2014-15 Record vs. the Flames: 3-0-0
Notable Injuries: Jonas Brodin (broken foot), Nate Prosser (hand)
Who's HOT: Zach Parise
The 31-year-old forward scored a goal in the Wild's 5-2 win over Vancouver and has five points in his last five games. Parise has also been generating plenty of scoring opportunities in his last stretch of games, getting 23 shots on net in his last five skates.
In 2014-15, Parise scored two goals against the Flames in their three-game series.
Honourable Mention: Ryan Suter
The veteran blueliner was named the first star in the Wild's win on Monday, collecting two assists in his 27:35 of ice time against the Canucks. In his past three games, Suter has one goal and four points. He is currently second in team scoring with seven goals and 37 points through 56 games.
Suter was held pointless in three games against Calgary last year.
Who's NOT: Jason Pominville
Pominville has struggled offensively this year and has just one goal and two points since Dec. 26. In 56 games this year, the 33-year-old has six goals and 21 points and it doesn't look like he'll be surpassing the 50-point plateau this season, a mark he has hit in eight of the last nine seasons.