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From the Rink: Wild and Flames set to tangle Thursday in Calgary

Canadian road swing continues for Minnesota as club preps for front half of back-to-back games in Alberta

by Dan Myers @MNWildScribe /

Greetings from the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, where the Minnesota Wild will embark on its 28th game of the hockey season tonight against the Calgary Flames. 

The Wild and Flames will play for the first time this season and for the first time in a nine day stretch; the clubs meet again in St. Paul the Saturday after next.

For more on the matchup, be sure to check out the Wild Warmup, including a look inside the numbers.

As an aside, check out Wednesday's off-day feature on "The Mailman," Jordan Greenway, who has earned that moniker because of his ability to "carry the mail" below the goal line, according to fellow forward Eric Fehr. 

If pictures are more your thing, here are a few from this morning's optional skating session:

Wild coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't at liberty to share any potential lineup changes following a 3-2 win in Vancouver on Tuesday night. 

If you read the tea leaves however, it appears J.T. Brown could be back in after sitting out in favor of Matt Hendricks versus the Canucks.

Could we see Hendricks, a former Oiler, tomorrow in Edmonton? Potentially. 

Boudreau was non-committal about his goaltender, but Alex Stalock was the first one off the ice, typically indicative of who is starting in goal.

Stalock is 5-2-0 in seven games this season with a 2.45 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. He made 26 saves in a win over the Winnipeg Jets his last time out on Nov. 23.

Video: Stalock set to play in 100th NHL game

 If Stalock does indeed start, it will mark the 100th game of his NHL career, making him the seventh Minnesota-born goaltender -- and first since Damian Rhodes -- to reach the milestone. In his career against Calgary, Stalock is 3-2-3 with a 2.46 goals against and a .903 save percentage in nine games (seven starts). That includes a fantastic 37-save performance here last season here in a 4-2 victory on Oct. 21, 2017.

Ryan Carter caught up with his best bud Stalock to chat about 100 games in the NHL:

Minnesota Wild on Instagram: "Ryan Carter chats with goaltender Al Stalock on playing his 100th NHL game."

5 Likes, 0 Comments - Minnesota Wild (@minnesotawild) on Instagram: "Ryan Carter chats with goaltender Al Stalock on playing his 100th NHL game."

Here is how the rest of the lineup could shake out for Minnesota on Thursday:

Jason Zucker - Eric Staal - Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Charlie Coyle

Jordan Greenway - Joel Eriksson Ek - Nino Niederreiter

Marcus Foligno - Eric Fehr - J.T. Brown

Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba

Nick Seeler - Greg Pateryn

Alex Stalock

Devan Dubnyk

For Calgary, which has split its goaltenders virtually all season, veteran Mike Smith was the first goalie off and is expected to get the nod between the posts.

Smith has struggled a bit this season, posting a 3.11 goals-against average and an .884 save percentage, but still boasts a 9-7-1 record in 16 starts. 

And despite a poor win-loss record against the Wild in his career, his individual numbers are pretty darn good; even with a 5-11-2 record, Smith has managed a 2.30 goals-against and .916 save percentage in 19 games versus Minnesota (including 17 starts). 

This is how the Flames are expected to look tonight:

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Elias Lindholm

Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Sam Bennett

Andrew Mangiapane - Mark Jankowski - James Neal

Ryan Lomberg - Derek Ryan - Garnet Hathaway

Mark Giordano - T.J. Brodie

Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic

Oliver Kylington - Rasmus Andersson

Mike Smith

David Rittich

Watching/listening to tonight's game:

  • The game will be televised on FOX Sports North 
  • It can also be streamed on the FOX Sports app
  • If you're in the car or generally prefer radio, it can be heard on FM 100.3 KFAN or on the Wild Radio Network
  • Or you can stream the audio online in the Wild app
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