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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, April 8th (All times eastern)

Minnesota Wild (37-36-7) at Calgary Flames (40-31-9), 9:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Flames know they simply weren't good enough to make the playoffs this season. That's a feeling captain Jarome Iginla doesn't want to carry into next season.

Iginla will try for his first goal in 10 games this evening when Calgary hosts the Minnesota Wild at Pengrowth Saddledome.

The Flames began the season aiming for their sixth straight playoff appearance, but a nine-game losing streak in January put them in a hole they could not get out of. Calgary is also 6-7-0 over its last 13 games and was officially knocked out of the postseason race for the first time since 2003 when it lost to San Jose on Tuesday and Colorado defeated Vancouver the same night.

Rene Bourque had the lone goal in the 2-1 setback to the Sharks, while Miikka Kiprusoff posted 24 saves in the Flames' second straight loss that also snapped a three-game home winning streak.

"You're in a tough spot when you need help elsewhere," said Calgary head coach Brent Sutter. "I'm disappointed for our fans, the support they give this organization. Anyway you look at it, it's tough."

Iginla has 32 goals on the season, but just one in his last 14 games in addition to his nine-game goal drought. The 32-year-old fell on the sword after Tuesday's loss.

"It's been hard," Iginla told Calgary's Web site. "Unfortunately this last little stretch, I haven't been playing very well. It's when you feel like the team needs it the most; needs all of us to be our best."

Calgary, 20-17-3 at home this year, wraps its regular season on Saturday at Vancouver.

The Wild will miss the postseason for a second year in a row and tonight they will try to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season, a five- game skid from Oct. 8-17. Minnesota has been outscored 15-6 on its current four-game losing streak and dropped a 4-1 test to Edmonton on Monday.

Andrew Brunette scored the lone goal and Niklas Backstrom stopped 27 shots for the Wild, are winless in the first two contests of a three-game road trip. They have lost three straight and five of their last six as the guest, giving them a 12-24-4 road record on the season.

"It was a disappointing game," Brunette told NHL.com. "It's tough playing this time of year when there isn't much to play for. We are in a bit of a slide and it is tough to get out of it."

Both Martin Havlat (groin) and Guillaume Latendresse (back) left Monday's loss with injuries and are questionable for this game along with Owen Nolan (leg), Marek Zidlicky (arm) and Nick Schultz (leg).

Minnesota closes its regular season on Saturday versus Dallas.

The Wild have won four of five over the Flames this season and have taken two straight in Calgary after dropping seven in a row there. Minnesota still has just three wins and a tie in its last 19 at Calgary.

04/08 10:46:42 ET

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