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Wild hope to bounce back at Calgary

by Davis Harper /
WILD (20-9-5) at FLAMES (14-15-4)

: FS-N (HD), FS-WI (HD), SNET-W (HD)

Last 10: Minnesota 6-2-2; Calgary 4-3-3.
Season Series: This is the third of six meetings between these Northwest Division rivals. Each team won away from home, with Calgary winning the most recent by a 5-2 margin on Nov. 27 – a game in which the Flames chased Niklas Backstrom with three goals in the first.

Big Story: Two teams looking to snap respective four-game losing streaks will face off at Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday. Minnesota has lost four straight, including a 3-0 shutout in Vancouver on Monday night. Calgary returns home after finishing an 0-2-2 road trip with a 4-2 loss in Chicago on Sunday evening.

Team Scope:

Wild: Minnesota is right in the middle of their worst four-game stretch of the season – 0-2-2 with two shootout losses – with defeats to Vancouver, the New York Islanders, Chicago and Winnipeg muddling the memory of their best start in quite some time. It might not be time to start panicking just yet, however, as a rash of injuries to key forwards is accounting for at least some of the struggle.
Captain Mikko Koivu has missed two games with a leg injury, while Devin Setoguchi (knee), Guillaume Latendresse (post-concussion symptoms) and Casey Wellman (wrist) are all on injured reserve. Pierre-Marc Bouchard returned from a two-game absence with a broken nose, and carried the play for long stretches in his fellow forward's absence.

Flames: Very little went right for Calgary on their most recent venture south. Coming off three wins at the Saddledome, the Flames were looking toward to testing their revived game elsewhere. After a 3-0 shutout of Edmonton on Dec. 10, captain Jarome Iginla said: "It's great. Our confidence is growing and we want to keep this going."

Four losses -- two in overtime to the Florida teams sandwiched between regulation defeats to potential playoff rivals Chicago and Nashville – could not have done much for momentum. To compound the struggle, key winger Rene Bourque was tossed from the loss to Chicago after a hit on Brent Seabrook. On Monday, the NHL suspended Bourque, who had a goal against Florida and another at Tampa Bay, for two games.

Who's Hot: Olli Jokinen has 6 points in his last three games, recording a goal and an assist in each.

Injury Report: In addition to Koivu, Bouchard, Latendresse, Setoguchi, and Wellman, Justin Falk (back spasms) is also on injured reserve. … Calgary center Matt Stajan is questionable with an ankle injury. Henrik Karlsson (sprained right MCL), Mark Giordano (ruptured tendons in leg), David Moss (foot), Anton Babchuk (hand) and Brett Carson (back) are on the IR.

Stat Pack: The two likely starting goalies each carry a long history against his opponent. Calgary No. 1 Miikka Kiprusoff is 26-15-1 with a .921 save percentage and 2.04 GAA in his career, and made 19 saves in Calgary's win in November. Backstrom is 13-8-0 with a 1.87 GAA and .933 save percentage in his career against Calgary.

Puck Drop: "Of course [the Canucks] have some skill. We talked about that. You got to make sure you're disciplined against this team and they capitalize when you make mistakes. We made a few tonight and they seemed to capitalize on every one of them." – Wild coach Mike Yeo on his team's loss to the Canucks, its first by a four-goal margin this season
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