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Preview: Wild at Flames

Goaltender Devan Dubnyk starts for Minnesota, Brian Elliott plays for Calgary

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

WILD (33-11-5) at FLAMES (25-24-3)

10 p.m. ET; SN360, SNW, SNP, FS-N, NHL.TV

 

Wild team scope

Goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who played Sunday in the Honda 2017 NHL All-Star Game, is expected to start in the second of back-to-back games for the Minnesota Wild. Backup Darcy Kuemper made 41 saves in Minnesota's 5-2 win at the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. "Realistically I could've gone [Tuesday]," Dubnyk said. "With the back-to-back, I'm only going to get one of them anyway. It makes sense to have the break." Dubnyk is 18-2-0 in his past 20 starts, allowing 42 goals in that span. Minnesota has an NHL-best plus-54 goal differential and leads the Western Conference with 71 points. The Wild are 9-2-0 in their past 11 games and 22-3-1 in the past 26. "We're scoring three, four, five a game and we're getting some good contributions up and down the lineup," forward Zach Parise said. "When you're doing that I think we've been pretty tough to beat." The Wild have earned at least one point in a franchise-record 14 straight road games (12-0-2), a streak that began with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Dec. 2. "These long road trips that drag on and you're tired and guys are banged up, you're always going to need different players to step up," Dubnyk said. "This year has been special from getting it from anybody in the dressing room on any night."

 

Flames team scope

Calgary goaltender Brian Elliott will make back-to-back starts for the first time since Dec. 31-Jan. 4. Elliott is 9-12-2 with a 2.88 goals against average and .892 save percentage, but he made 25 saves in a 3-2 overtime win at the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. Coach Glen Gulutzan said before the victory against Ottawa that he would approach the goaltending rotation between Elliott and Chad Johnson with a win-and-stay-in mentality. "I think our goalies have been great for us," captain Mark Giordano said. "We don't really have a No. 1. We have two No. 1s. I think that's a good scenario for them. If you win you stay in and keep that momentum going." The Flames, who are 2-5-1 in the past eight games, are even with the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference; each team has 53 points, although the Blues have two games in hand. "This is a big game for us," forward Johnny Gaudreau said. "We want to start off the second half portion of the season on a good note. We've got to finish the season off strong if we want to be in a playoff spot at the end of these 30 games here. It's important to get this thing started."

 

Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise -- Erik Haula -- Jason Pominville

Chris Stewart -- Tyler Graovac -- Jordan Schroeder

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella -- Matt Dumba

Nate Prosser -- Mike Reilly

Devan Dubnyk

Darcy Kuemper

Scratched: Christian Folin

Injured: Victor Bartley (arm), Jonas Brodin (finger)

 

Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Troy Brouwer

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Sam Bennett -- Alex Chiasson

Lance Bouma -- Matt Stajan -- Micheal Ferland

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Dennis Wideman

Brett Kulak -- Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Jyrki Jokipakka, Freddie Hamilton

Injured: Garnet Hathaway (upper body)

 

Status report

The Wild held an optional morning skate. Minnesota traded forward Marc Hagel to the Ottawa Senators in a trade for future considerations Wednesday. Hagel was with Iowa of the American Hockey League at the time of the trade. … Hathaway skated at practice for a third straight day wearing a non-contact jersey.

 

Who's hot

Granlund has 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) during a 10-game point streak. Niederreiter has four goals and 10 points in his past eight games. Pominville has two goals and eight points during a six-game point streak. … Dougie Hamilton has eight assists and nine points in his past nine games. Monahan has six goals and eight points in his past eight games.

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