Skip to main content


Flames-Wild Preview @NHL

While the Minnesota Wild are trying to win the Northwest Division, the Calgary Flames are just hoping to avoid dropping out of the playoff picture altogether.

The Flames begin a big test Tuesday, playing the first of two consecutive road games against the red-hot Wild.

Calgary (40-25-10) currently owns the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and is five points ahead of ninth-place Colorado, a team it will face twice in its final four games of the regular season.

Minnesota (45-24-7), meanwhile, has climbed into a tie with Vancouver atop the Northwest Division thanks to a franchise-record nine-game winning streak. The Wild haven't lost since falling to San Jose 3-0 on March 6.

A 1-4-1 stretch earlier this month put the Flames' postseason hopes in jeopardy, but they have come back to win three straight, including a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. Calgary trailed by a goal at the end of the first period, but Stephane Yelle tied the game 48 seconds into the third period and Roman Hamrlik scored the game-winner with 6:11 to play.

"We don't care who scores," Hamrlik said. "It was a big win, a huge two points."

Sunday marked the opener of a four-game road trip for the Flames. The team returns home next Tuesday to face the Avalanche, then plays two of its final three regular-season games on the road. Calgary is 10-18-8 away from home and has the fewest road wins of any team in the West.

The victory at Chicago was only the Flames' third in its last 13 road games.

"This was a really important win to start our road trip," coach Jim Playfair said.

The Flames have dropped both road games against the Wild (45-24-7), with both ending in shootouts. Plus, Minnesota won 4-2 at Calgary on March 17 in the most recent meeting.

The Wild's latest victory came on Saturday, 4-1 over the Los Angeles Kings.

Mikko Koivu had a goal and an assist for the second straight game, giving him 10 points over his last eight outings.

Koivu said the team is more concerned with its performance on the ice as opposed to the winning streak or playoff position.

"The way you play the first, second and third period, I think that's more important than where we are in the standings," Koivu said.

Marian Gaborik had an assist to extend his point streak to eight games - the longest of his six-year career. The right wing, who missed most of the first half of the season with a groin problem, has 28 goals and 50 points in 42 games.

"He's a special player," said teammate Pavol Demitra. "I think he's got a chance to score 60 goals one year if he's healthy."

Sunday was the second straight game and third in the last five the Wild have held an opponent to one goal. Minnesota has outscored opponents 31-13 during the win streak.

View More