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Flames chase third straight, look to leap Wild

by Brian Hunter

FLAMES (7-7-3) at WILD (8-7-2)


Last 10: Calgary 5-4-1; Minnesota 4-5-1

Season series: Third of five meetings between these Northwest Division rivals. They split the first two, both in Calgary. Mikko Koivu had the decisive shootout goal as the Wild won 2-1 on Feb. 11, while Matt Stajan scored twice in the third period to lift the Flames to a 3-1 victory on Feb. 23.

Big story: This marks the back end of a home-and-home for Minnesota, but for Calgary it's the third game in four nights. The Flames will be looking for a season-high third straight win after a thriller against the Coyotes on Sunday. They can also inch ahead of the Wild in the standings.

Team Scope:

Flames: For the second game in a row, Calgary treated the Scotiabank Saddledome fans to some late fireworks. Stajan was the hero on Saturday night, and a little less than 24 hours later a pair of Flames combined to steal two points from Phoenix. Trailing by a goal in the final minutes, captain Jarome Iginla scored his second of the night with 1:23 remaining to tie things up. Curtis Glencross then struck 23 seconds later and the Flames had an improbable 5-4 win over the Coyotes.

"It's a big difference in the standings as far as trying to catch teams and also just momentum to build something," Iginla said. "These are two very important wins. It was a wacky game."

Wild: In trading away defenseman Brent Burns prior to the 2011 NHL Draft, the prize return for Minnesota was young center Charlie Coyle. Just 19 when he was acquired, the Wild knew Coyle's time was somewhere off in the future, but now it appears to be arriving. Coyle made his NHL debut early this month, went scoreless in five games, then returned to the lineup Saturday and scored his first goal against Joey MacDonald in the first period of Minnesota's loss to Calgary.

"We are happy for him getting his first goal, but I'm sure he would have liked to have gotten it in a win," coach Mike Yeo said.

Who's hot: Iginla has two goals and two assists during a three-game points streak for the Flames. … Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom is 3-1-1 in his last five starts, allowing just a single goal in each of the wins and posting a .941 save percentage over that stretch.

Injury report: Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff (knee) and forwards Lance Bouma (knee), Mikael Backlund (knee) and Paul Byron (hand) are on injured reserve. … Minnesota goalie Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis symptoms) is on injured reserve. Forward Cal Clutterbuck (thigh) is day-to-day.

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