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Minnesota Wild vs Calgary Flames: Game 23

Minnesota_wild_logo_medium Flames_logo_medium

Minnesota Wild (13-6-3) vs Calgary Flames (8-12-1)

Xcel Energy Center @ 5:00PM CDTTelevision: FSN
Listen Live at: KFAN (100.3) or

For the Calgary perspective, check out Matchsticks and Gasoline

Minnesota Wild
Calgary Flames

Devin Setoguchi - Mikko Koivu - Dany Heatley
Cal Clutterbuck - Matt Cullen - Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Colton Gillies - Kyle Brodziak - Darroll Powe
Brad Staubitz - Warren Peters - Nick Johnson

Clayton Stoner - Marco Scandella
Nate Prosser - Nick Schultz
Justin Falk - Jared Spurgeon

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

Curtis Glencross - Olli Jokinen - Jarome Iginla
Alex Tanguay - Roman Horak - Rene Bourque
Blake Comeau - Mikael Backlund - Lee Stempniak
Tom Kostopoulos - Matt Stajan - Tim Jackman

Scott Hannan - Mark Giordano
Jay Bouwmeester - Chris Butler
Derek Smith - T.J. Brodie

Miikka Kiprusoff
Henrik Karlsson

Quite a few story lines to follow in this one. First, the obvious. The Wild pay tribute to Derek Boogaard tonight before the game, which will certainly give the crowd an emotional charge. Should be interesting to see how the team reacts to the events of the evening, and if they can find a way to build on those emotions and bring some heat early in the game.

Then, there is the leftovers from the last game. The Nick Johnson "head butt" and ensuing Iginla temper tantrum to draw the call. Will certainly be fun to watch as the two sides try to sort it out for themselves. Will Staubitz even attempt to fight after his disastrous game against the Oilers? Will anyone else feel the need to step up?

Remember, the last game is when the folks at M&G labeled me the "whiny idiot homer" because I called the Johnson call a bad call, and then mentioned that the Wild had killed the ensuing major. To recap - people in Calgary think I'm a whiny idiot homer, and the people in Edmonton think all Wild fans are "ignorant dumbasses." Something in the water in Alberta, I guess.

Looking at the game itself, shockingly enough, the Flames are not having a great season. The are in the cellar of the Northwest, are 3-7-0 in their past ten, and have lost three in a row. On top of all of that, they have almost no cap space to make any moves to help themselves, and their aging stars just are not producing the way they used to.Kiprusoff is still an elite goalie, and the Wild will need to capitalize anytime they get a chance, because he is capable of pitching a shutout in any given game.

The Wild are, of course, coming off a loss to Edmonton two days ago, and hope to get back on the right track. They come back with Backstrom in the net, and the same lineup in front of him. This gives each of the players a chance to respond to a game that saw mistakes from players who generally do not make many, and missed chances on the offensive side of the puck. Mike Yeo sounds confident they will do just that, and the team has responded each time he has asked them to.

Should be a good one tonight. So many reasons to Occupy the X. Make it happen.

Five Questions:

  1. Any score settling tonight, or just business as usual?
  2. The Wild made the Flames look silly in the last meeting. Can they do so again?
  3. Backstrom is back tonight. Any signs of rust?
  4. How do Falk and Prosser respond from their tough games?
  5. Over under on whiny idiot homer references is set at 15. What you got?