Minnesota Wild (21-14-6) at Calgary Flames (18-19-5)
Pengrowth Saddledome @ 9:17 PM CST
Television: FSN (HD)
Listen Live at: KFAN (100.3) or Wild.com
For the Calgary perspective, check out Matchsticks and Gasoline
|Minnesota Wild||Calgary Flames
Devin Setoguchi - - - Nick Johnson
Darroll Powe - - Cal Clutterbuck
Colton Gillies - Warren Peters - Brad Staubitz
Nick Schultz - Greg Zanon
Marek Zidlicky - Jared Spurgeon
Marco Scandella - Clayton Stoner
Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Jarome Iginla
Lee Stempniak - Mikael Backlund - Lance Bourne
Paul Byron - Blair Jones- Blake Comeau
Tom Kostopoulos - Roman Horak - Tim Jackman
Jay Bouwmeester - Chris Butler
TJ Brodie - Anton Babchuk
Clay Wilson - Cory Sarich
The Wild finished the first half of the season with 48 points, in second place in the Northwest division and sixth place in the Western conference, but just one point ahead of last season's pace, even with their tremendous November. If you would have asked me at the beginning of the season if I would have been happy with this pace, given the rash of injuries the team has faced, I would have said yes. However, given their position on December 1st, I think most Wild fans would agree that one point ahead of the pace that saw a coach fired and a team overhauled is unacceptable. So, it's time for the squad to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask themselves if they are abiding by the "every player, every shift" mantra, because frankly I don't think every player is giving it their all on every shift.
It's a 9:17 start tonight, too bad realignment was voted down by the NHLPA.
The Wild will be facing a Flames team determined to shake off a 9-0 thrashing at the hands of the Bruins with Jarome Iginla looking to notch his 500th career goal. To say that Calgary has been dysfunctional this season is an understatement. The Wild need to come out early, control the play, pressure the puck carrier, forecheck aggressively and put shots on Kiprusoff. The Flames have proven to give up when down, and if the Wild can get up early and turn the crowd against the home team, they can kick start the second half with a much needed victory.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard will be out of the lineup tonight with a lower body injury, putting Casey Wellman and Nick Johnson on the second line with Matt Cullen. This line needs to use their speed and tenacity without the puck to create turnovers and provide secondary scoring. The Setoguchi-Koivu-Heatley line needs to get back on the scoresheet. Koivu has been averaging over a point a game in the last 22 until Vancouver, so look for him to push the play and if motivate Setoguchi and Heatley to put pucks on net. The top line needs to step up play to turn things around.
- Can the Wild start the second half of the season on a winning note?
- Will Jarome Iginla score his 500th NHL goal?
- Greg Zanon and Clayton Stoner are back in the lineup tonight. Will we see a difference?
- Niklas Backstrom is 5-0 with a 0.52 GAA and .984 save % in his last five starts in Calgary. Can he keep up that level of success tonight?
- Will the Flames come out on a mission after losing 9-0 to Boston in their last game?