As usual, the Calgary Flames are playing well at home. That doesn't bode well for the Minnesota Wild.
The Northwest Division-leading Flames look for their third straight victory overall Monday night when they try to continue their home dominance of the struggling Wild.
Calgary (20-11-4) defeated Ottawa 6-3 on Saturday to improve to 2-0-1 on its season-high five-game homestand. The Flames, who have recorded at least 21 wins at the Pengrowth Saddledome in four straight seasons, are 11-4-3 on home ice this season and practically unbeatable there against Minnesota. The Wild are 3-15-1 with three ties all-time at Calgary, including losses in their last four visits.
Calgary won 3-2 in overtime at Minnesota on Dec. 17 in the first meeting of the season series between these division rivals. Todd Bertuzzi scored the winner in that contest and also had a goal Saturday for the Flames, who benefited from Rene Bourque's first NHL hat trick.
Bourque has four goals with an assist in his last three contests, giving him 14 goals and eight assists in his first season with the Flames, who are 4-0-3 since their last regulation loss at Montreal on Dec. 9.
"The puck was going in for me," Bourque said. "It's a good feeling. I'll take what I can get and hopefully they keep going in for me."
In his fourth NHL season, Bourque is two goals shy of matching his career high set as a rookie with Chicago in 2005-06. He has two goals and six assists in nine games versus Minnesota.
"He's a goal scorer," said Calgary defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who scored his fifth of the season Saturday. "That release. His strength. He doesn't get knocked off the puck too easily. I've always known how well he can shoot the puck. He's a big guy and he skates really well."
Miikka Kiprusoff made 27 saves against the Senators to improve to 20-10-3 with a 2.87 goals-against average this season. He is 20-6-2 with a tie and a 1.83 goals-against average lifetime versus the Wild.
While trying for a rare victory in Calgary, Minnesota (17-15-2) also hopes to avoid a sixth straight road loss. The Wild haven't won on the road since a 6-2 victory at Nashville on Nov. 29, and have been outscored 15-6 in their last five contests away from home.
Minnesota suffered its eighth loss in 10 games overall on Sunday, falling 3-1 at home to Chicago.
Cal Clutterbuck scored the lone goal for Minnesota, which was regularly booed by its home fans.
"Yeah, it was deserved," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We have to play better. There's no doubt we have to skate more, we have to be better with the puck."
Andrew Brunette and Marian Gaborik each had a goal and an assist versus Calgary earlier this month. While Brunette is expected to be on the ice, Gaborik is likely to miss his second straight game Monday after playing four in a row.
The Wild continue to ease Gaborik back into the lineup after a lower body injury sidelined him for 27 games.
Nicklas Backstrom made 28 saves Sunday, but fell to 16-12-2 on the season. He is 4-4-3 with a 2.12 GAA against Calgary, while backup Josh Harding is 0-3-1 with a 2.70 GAA in his career versus the Flames.