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Flames try to complete perfect homestand vs. Wild

by Dan Myers

WILD (29-21-6) at FLAMES (20-27-7)


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

Season series: This is the second of three games. Zach Parise scored two goals and an assist to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 5-1 win against the Calgary Flames on Nov. 6 at Xcel Energy Center.

Big story: The Flames will look to run their season-long winning streak to five games against the Wild, who are playing the final game of a four-game road swing. Minnesota is 1-1-1 on the trip.

Team Scope:

Wild: Has coach Mike Yeo found some first-line magic? Playing extended minutes together for the first time this season during the third period Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche, Parise, Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville played like a group that's been together all season. Heading into the third period down 4-1, that line nearly brought the Wild all the way back. Colorado won the game 5-4, but Parise, Granlund and Pominville scored all three Wild goals in the period. Parise also had two assists while Granlund and Pominville each had one.

It's a group Yeo indicated would be together again against Calgary, and perhaps a lot longer if they continue to show that chemistry.

"Those guys were going," Yeo said. "We were trying whatever we could to get a spark, and when you see those guys going like that you just try to get them out there as much as possible that third period. They were running with it."

Flames: After winning only one of their final eight games in 2013, the Flames carried over that bad mojo into the new year, getting off to a 2-7-1 start in 2014. But a five-game stretch at home, which wraps up Saturday, has gotten Calgary back on track and a win against the Wild would cap an undefeated homestand. Despite the hot streak, Calgary, at 47 points, trails the Vancouver Canucks by 16 points for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"Those guys never stopped working and right now they're getting rewarded," coach Bob Hartley said following a 4-1 win against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. "From [goaltender] Kari Ramo, to the six [defensemen] to the four lines, everyone was chipping in. I would say, by far, that was our best team win of the season."

Who's hot: After scoring only one goal in 10 games to start the month, Pominville has scored a goal in three of the past four games and has had a goal and an assist in each of the past two. He has six points in the past four overall and leads the Wild with 22 goals this season. … Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano will carry an eight-game point streak into play Saturday, scoring four goals and four assists over that span. Had a foot injury not cost him six weeks of action earlier this season, it's likely Giordano would already be threatening career highs in goals, assists and points. Giordano has 26 points in 36 games this season.

Injury report: Wild forward Mikko Koivu (fractured ankle) and Josh Harding (illness) are on injured reserve. Defenseman Jared Spurgeon (foot) has been skating with the team and participated in his first full practice with teammates Friday. He is questionable to make his return after missing the team's past 13 games. … Flames forward Mike Cammalleri (concussion) could return Saturday. Forward Curtis Glencross (high ankle sprain) remains on injured reserve.

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