ST. PAUL --
Just three points currently separate five teams in the Western Conference playoff race entering tonight's action, with Calgary at the back of the bunch.
That makes getting a victory over the sliding Minnesota Wild
at Xcel Energy Center all the more important.
After losing the opening game of the season against Minnesota, Calgary has won the last four meetings, including one here just two Sundays ago.
The Flames trail seventh place Colorado by three points and eighth place Los Angeles by two. Phoenix is tied with L.A. at 84 points while San Jose and Calgary each have 82 points.
Calgary will get back three players who have missed significant time due to injury. Defenseman Chris Butler
, who has missed a month with a skate cut, will replace Cory Sarich
, who flew back to Alberta after the Flames' loss at Colorado on Tuesday. Sarich sustained an upper-body injury and was flown home for further evaluation.
Also back will be forwards Lance Bouma
and Blair Jones
. Bouma has been out since sustaining an upper-body injury March 4, while Jones has been out since Feb. 9 with an ankle injury.
"At the end of the day, I was hoping these guys would all be ready to go by the end of this trip," Flames coach Brent Sutter
said. "Tonight's the night, so we'll be putting all three of them in."
If Calgary is to get two points this evening, the Flames will need to break out of their offensive mini-slump. They've scored just one goal in each of their last three games, and not surprisingly have lost all three. With only two road games remaining on the schedule after tonight, both against division leaders, tonight's game could be as close to a must-win as there is this time of year.
"We've been trying to get pucks [to the net] and bodies there," Flames forward David Moss
said. "When you do that consistently, pucks will find a way to go in. They haven't the past few games, but we need to stick with it."