CALGARY -- The Minnesota Wild will send goaltender Alex Stalock between the posts as it tries to salvage the second of back-to-back games north of the border on Saturday against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.
With the quirky schedule, it's been two weeks to the day since Stalock last saw action, when he made 38 saves in a 5-4 shootout loss against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The final stat line doesn't show it, but he was fantastic in that game. And going back to last season, when he started two games near the end of the regular season, Stalock has been fantastic in his three starts in a Wild uniform.
"He's been really good," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "You hate to sometimes throw on the [end] of back-to-backs when you're dealing with some adversity, but I know the guys really like him and I think they'll come to play for him."
Stalock said he likes the challenge of backstopping the team in a back-to-back situation. He said if he can help his team weather an expected early storm, the Wild should have a chance to settle in.
"First 10 minutes, they're going to try and win the game," Stalock said. "I'll come out and play as strong as I can. It's going to be a good test and hopefully we're in a position where we have a chance to win again and come out on the right side of this thing."
A former San Jose Shark, Stalock will see a familiar opponent in the Flames. His six career appearances against Calgary are the most against any team he's seen. He's started five of those six games, with four of those starts coming at the Saddledome.
Stalock has allowed just nine goals in those four starts but has just one win to show for his efforts.
"I was telling one of the guys this morning, it's kind of a home away from home," Stalock said. "I've played a lot of games in this building with the back-to-backs or however its worked out. They can skate, they have skill and they can score. Limit their chances and their odd-man rushes and we should be fine."
Boudreau will have to piece a lineup together again on Saturday as the Wild will be without forward Landon Ferraro, who sustained a hip injury in the first period on Friday in Winnipeg.
With Ferraro out, the Wild will either have to play with seven defensemen or call up a forward from Iowa prior to the game.
Boudreau indicated on Friday night that he was hesitant to move Gustav Olofsson to the wing, so if he decides to play with four full forward lines, a different defenseman may move up (offensive-minded Matt Dumba or Mike Reilly could be options), or he'll simply play two regulars in the fourth group while rotating a different winger.
One option that will not be available is Mikael Granlund, who was one of three Wild players to skate on Saturday. Boudreau is sticking to his desire to give Granlund a few extra days before hopefully inserting him back into the lineup at home on Tuesday when Minnesota hosts the Vancouver Canucks at Xcel Energy Center.
Here are the projected lines:
Jason Zucker - Mikko Koivu - Chris Stewart
Marcus Foligno - Eric Staal - Luke Kunin
Tyler Ennis - Matt Cullen - Daniel Winnik
Zack Mitchell - Joel Eriksson Ek
Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba
Mike Reilly - Kyle Quincey
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jaromir Jagr
Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik
Kris Versteeg - Sam Bennett - Micheal Ferland
Freddie Hamilton - Curtis Lazar - Troy Brouwer
Mark Giordano - Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie - Travis Hamonic
Brett Kulak - Michael Stone