After years of the Flames and the Wild battling it out in the Northwest Division, with the Flames usually being a colossal thorn in the Wild's side, tonight the team's face off with a lot less at stake. The Flames now find their home in the Pacific division and, so far haven't been quite as awful as people expected. Their 6-6-2 record is respectable enough, considering the lack of talent on their roster.
|San Jose Sharks||14||10-1-3||23|
|St. Louis Blues||12||8-2-2||18|
|Los Angeles Kings||15||9-6-0||18|
Much of their early success have been thanks to the goalscoring of rookie Sean Monahan, who has now played more than 9 games and will not be sent back to juniors. The decision to keep him for the season and burn a year of his ELC has raised a lot of eyebrows (including mine) as the Flames stand almost no chance of making the playoffs, and his 20% shooting percentage will regress to the mean over the course of the season, meaning his production will likely dry-up.
|2013 - Sean Monahan||7||4||11||-5||0|
In terms of stopping goals, the Flames waived back-up goalie Joey MacDonalad the other day and called-up Reto Berra from the AHL. He had a good debut as the Flames scored an unlikely OT victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. There's a chance he will start again tonight, but, if not, it will be regular starting goaltender Kari Ramo who gets the nod.
As for the Wild, they come into this game on the back of 2 consecutive home wins. This is the last home game before they go back out on the road, so it would be nice to finish on a high. Charlie Coyle is back in the fold tonight, and is expected to play back in his old position on the top line with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu. That means Justin Fontaine will be on the 3rd line with Torrey Mitchell on the 4th. Carson McMillan sits and is likely headed back to Iowa. Matt Dumba and Nate Prosser remain healthy scratches as the defence has been lights-out lately.
Josh Harding's great numbers have made it impossible to sit him, so he gets the start again. He currently leads the NHL in even-strength save percentage (considered the most important stat in goalie evaluation). There's no way that number is sustainable, but, hey, lets ride it while he's hot. Speaking of hot, Jason Pominville has a 4-game goalscoring streak, and Mikael Granlund has a 5-game point streak.
-Here are the Wild's injuries:
Minnesota Wild Injuries
-Here are the Flames injuries:
Calgary Flames Injuries
Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)
|Player||Injury Type||Injury Date|
Game starts at 8 PM ET. Check back here for the game-day thread and the final team news ahead of puck-drop.