NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, February 19th
(All times eastern)
Calgary Flames (33-18-6) at Minnesota Wild (28-24-3), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Calgary Flames will try to extend their point streak to
six games in tonight's matchup with the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
Although the Flames come into tonight's battle off a 4-3 shootout loss to the
Vancouver Canucks, the extra-session setback did allow Calgary to notch a
point in its fifth straight game, going 3-0-2 in that span. This run of points
comes on the heels of four straight losses.
Miikka Kiprusoff set season highs with 43 shots faced and 40 saves, but the
Calgary goaltender couldn't stop Kevin Bieksa's equalizing slap shot through
heavy traffic with 51 seconds left in regulation. Vancouver's Pavol Demitra
then notched the lone tally of the shootout to give the Canucks the two
Jarome Iginla, Daymond Langkow and Rene Bourque scored for the Flames, who
still lead the Northwest Division by eight points over Vancouver. Calgary
plays the first of back-to-back road games tonight and is 13-11-2 as the
visiting team this year.
Kiprusoff, who leads the NHL with 33 wins, has been outstanding in his career
versus the Wild. In 30 starts against them, he holds a 21-6-2 mark with a tie,
a 1.81 goals against average and three shutouts. That includes a pair of wins
against Minnesota this year.
The Flames have won seven of eight and 10 of their last 12 versus the Wild and
have won in three of their last four trips to Minnesota.
The Wild have had four days to think about a disappointing loss to the Ottawa
Senators on Saturday and will hope to rebound tonight. Owen Nolan scored twice
in that game and assisted on Pierre-Marc Bouchard's tally as the Wild jumped
out to a 3-0 first-period lead.
However, the Senators went on to net the next five goals, scoring twice while
down a man, en route to the 5-3 victory.
Niklas Backstrom was in net for Minnesota over the first two periods, allowing
three goals on 19 shots faced. Josh Harding relieved him to start the third
and faced just two shots. However, he only halted one of them before Ottawa
sealed things with an empty-net goal.
Minnesota, which is 10th in the Western Conference and three points out of a
playoff spot, lost for just the second time in its last six home games and is
17-11-3 as the host this year. The club wraps a three-game homestand Saturday
The Wild defense will also try to shut down Iginla for a third straight game.
The star forward has 27 goals and 20 assists in 45 career games versus
Minnesota, but is pointless in the two contests so far this year. He had six
goals and five assists in eight games versus the Wild last year.
02/19 10:42:20 ET