Fresh off the best January in Minnesota Wild history, where the club set franchise records for wins (9) and points (19), the team looks to keep things rolling in February. Tonight, the Wild closes out a four-game road trip against the Calgary Flames. Minnesota is 1-1-1 on its current stretch outside the State of Hockey.
Tonight marks the first and only time the Wild will travel to Calgary, its old Northwestern Division rival. Last year, Minnesota was 2-1-0 in the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Wild is 8-4-0 in its last 12 games at the Saddledome after starting 3-18-4. This is the second of three games between the Wild and Flames. Zach Parise scored two goals and an assist to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 5-1 win against the Calgary Flames on Nov. 6 at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild will put a few of its recent line changes to the test against the Flames. Mikael Granlund, Parise and Jason Pominville tallied eight points in a single period (3-5=8) in its last outing against the Colorado Avalanche. The combination was an offensive threat every time it was on the ice in the third period against the Avs. It is an intriguing combination of speed and skill, and seems to have found quick chemistry. We’ll get a chance to see if it carries over into tonight’s contest.
A line that will look to regain some chemistry is the trio of Charlie Coyle, Jason Zuker and Dany Heatley. With Parise returning to the lineup after coming back from Injured Reserve, Zucker was the odd man out. Well, tonight he’ll get a chance to re-enter the lineup. He’ll be reunited with Coyle and Heatley, and the line was potent offensively when last together.
Yesterday, Parise was named captain of the United States, while defenseman Ryan Suter was named alternate captain. Parise found out about the honor on Tuesday before the team’s game in Anaheim and has been on fire ever since. In two games, he’s totaled three goals and four assists.
Minnesota’s three third-period goals was just short of a comeback attempt in Colorado on Thursday, 5-4. Parise had two goals and two assists, Granlund had a goal and two assists and Pominville had a goal and an assist. Darcy Kuemper stopped 19-of-23 shots, before being replaced by Niklas Backstrom, who stopped 8-of-9 to earn the loss.
The Flames roasted the San Jose Sharks at home on Thursday, 4-1. Calgary was powered by goals from Lee Stempniak, Mark Giordano, Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler. Karri Ramo made 28 saves in the win.
Meet the Flames
Calgary wraps a five-game homestand tonight. The Flames have won each game during the stretch, including impressive wins over Chicago, San Jose and Phoenix.
Calgary defenseman Mark Giordano brings an eight-game point streak into tonight’s contest, scoring four goals and four assists over that span.
If You’re Going
Be on the lookout for the National Hockey League’s first mascot and infamous troublemaker, Harvey the Hound. Harvey gained widespread notoriety from the famous Tongue Incident. On Jan. 20, 2003, Edmonton Oilers head coach, Craig MacTavish, ripped Harvey's signature red tongue out of his mouth and tossed it into the crowd.
The Wild will wear its WHITE sweaters tonight.
Granlund led the Wild with 12 points (2-10=12) in January (14 games). The Finnish Olympian posted career highs with three points (1-2=3), 22:00 TOI and 12 faceoff wins in Thursday’s game, while also tying career highs with a plus-2 rating and five shots. He has seven points (2-5=7) in a four-game point streak.
Probable Wild Lineup
The first two lines appear to be set, but we’ll find out more after the team’s morning skate:
It appears Jared Spurgeon won't make his return tonight:
Between the Pipes
Kuemper will get the nod in net tonight. He has not faced Calgary.
Yeo Quote of the Day
What you want from a leader, when he steps over the boards and everyone is watching him, you want them to say, 'Okay, that’s how I have to do it,' and that’s what you get from Zach.
-Yeo on Parise being named Team USA’s Olympic captain
View from the Press Box
Honorary State of Hockey Residents
RW Tim Jackman played at Park Center High School and spent two seasons at Minnesota State University, Mankato (2000-02).
This season, the Wild and Flames have combined for 110 games, 58 out them have been decided by one goal. The Wild is 15-5-6 in games decided by one goal, while Calgary is 16-9-7.
Wild at Calgary will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time at 9 p.m. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.
|Back to top ↑|