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Wild return home to face Flames

by Dan Myers

FLAMES (23-30-7) at WILD (33-21-7)


Last 10: Calgary 7-3-0; Minnesota 6-2-2

Season Series: This is the third and final game between the Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild this season, with each team winning on home ice. The Flames won 4-3 in overtime in the most-recent gameon Feb. 1. The Wild earned a 5-1 victory at Xcel Energy Center on Nov. 5.

Big Story: Winners in seven of their past 10 games, it's probably too little, too late for Calgary. With 53 points, the Flames enter the week 13 points behind the Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets and the Vancouver Canucks, who at 66 points, are tied for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Wild, at 73 points, have built a comfortable lead in the race for the top wild-card position.

Team Scope:

Flames: Because the Flames are likely too far back of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot, they could be sellers prior to the NHL Trade Deadline. Among those that could be on the move is veteran forward Mike Cammalleri, who has 13 goals in 43 games this season. With Brian Burke, a man who is certainly not afraid to make a bold move, running the operation in Calgary, anybody and everybody could be available leading up to the 3 p.m. ET deadline Wednesday.

"I've talked to all the GMs. I know what teams are trying to do. I know what their capability is, cap-wise," Burke told the Calgary Sun last week. "We've done all the work internally to get ready, which teams we think will make the playoffs, which teams we don't think [will]. And now we're ready to see if something makes sense."

Wild: Meanwhile, the opposite could be true in Minnesota. The Wild are seen as potential buyers over the next few days, with a veteran goaltender being rumored atop the wish list of general manager Chuck Fletcher. Despite the stellar play of rookie goaltender Darcy Kuemper, who has been a savior with both Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom ailing, it is believed Fletcher would like to add some experienced depth behind Kuemper, just in case. Harding hasn't played since New Year's Eve while he works through medication changes to the treatment of his multiple sclerosis. Backstrom has struggled all season with an abdominal issue.

Who's hot: Sean Monahan has had a solid rookie season for the Flames. He scored twice in a 2-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. He leads the Flames with 18 goals this season.

Kuemper has been one of the best goaltenders in the NHL over the past month. He's won each of his past four starts, allowing a total of four goals over that span. Since Jan. 7, Kuemper is 10-2-2 with a 1.94 goals against and .935 save percentage. He also has two shutouts.

Injury report: Flames forwards Curtis Glencross (ankle) and Brian McGrattan (upper body), as well as goaltender Karri Ramo (knee) are out. Forward Lee Stempniak, who has missed two games because of the birth of his daughters, is expected to return to the lineup. … Wild captain Mikko Koivu is expected to make his return after missing 17 games with a fractured ankle. Defenseman Marco Scandella (knee sprain) could return as well. Harding (illness) and forward Jason Zucker (lower body) are out.

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