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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, March 21st (All times eastern)

Calgary Flames (36-26-9) at Minnesota Wild (34-31-6), 3 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Calgary Flames will try to forge a tie for the last playoff seed in the conference when they visit the Minnesota Wild for today's Northwest Division clash at Xcel Energy Center.

The Flames come into Sunday trailing idle Detroit by two points for the eighth seed in the West. The Wild are just about out of the race as they are currently tied for 12th in the West and nine points behind the Red Wings.

Still, Calgary has struggled against the Wild this year, losing three of the four meetings. However, the Flames have six wins in the last 10 overall encounters and have won five of their last eight tests in St. Paul, including a 5-2 victory at Minnesota on March 7.

Calgary has boosted its playoff chances recently, winning two straight and six of its last eight games. The Flames beat a first-place team on Friday, downing the visiting San Jose Sharks by a 4-3 score in regulation.

Eric Nystrom's second-period goal proved to be the difference as the Flames staved off a late San Jose rally to post the win over the Pacific Division leaders.

Jarome Iginla, Daymond Langkow and Nigel Dawes also tallied for the Flames, who were clobbered, 9-1, the last time Calgary met the Sharks on January 18 in San Jose.

"If you don't have emotion and a sense of urgency right now in the situation we're in then I guess we're in trouble, but our emotion level was there tonight," said Calgary head coach Brent Sutter.

The Flames played without forwards Christopher Higgins and Curtis Glencross on Friday and both are questionable for today's contest. Higgins has missed three straight games with a foot injury, while Glencross sat out his first game with a knee problem.

The Wild will try to get back on track today after dropping two straight in regulation on the heels of a three-game winning streak. Minnesota has been outscored by a 9-2 margin in its last two games, losing a 5-0 decision in Nashville on Thursday and getting beat 4-2 the following night in Columbus.

The Blue Jackets won Friday's meeting behind a pair of goals in the third period from captain Rick Nash at Nationwide Arena.

Mikko Koivu and Chuck Kobasew lit the lamp for Minnesota, losers in six of its last nine games.

Wild goaltender Josh Harding, starting his sixth straight game in place of Niklas Backstrom, made 28 saves after being pulled in Thursday's 5-0 loss at Nashville. Backstrom continues to battle a groin injury and is questionable for today's tilt.

Minnesota winger Derek Boogaard and defenseman Shane Hnidy are also questionable for today's game, while blueliner Greg Zanon is expected to miss a second straight game with a broken ankle.

The Wild have a solid 23-9-3 record as the host this year. Calgary is 18-10-6 as the guest.

03/21 10:37:42 ET


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