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Wilderness Walk: Flame Day edition

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The Wild made their way through the flames in Calgary to play the Calgary Flames. The team was forced to switch hotels late into the night hours as their original destination was evacuated because of a fire inside the building.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Big game tonight in terms of the standings as the Minnesota Wild take on the team holding onto the 2nd wildcard spot, the only one that has a deficit that is surmountable, the Calgary Flames.  Bob Hartley and company currently hold a 7 point advantage over the Wild, with the Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, and Los Angeles Kings - all teams that made last year's playoffs - between them.

This game will give us a good indication of where the end of the season is headed, and is much more important to Minnesota than to Calgary.  The Wild must find their game early and play 3 complete periods against the hard-working and skilled Flames.  Expect this to be a tight-checked game that will likely end with a narrow margin of victory.  The Wild have something to prove in this matchup and have run out of time to assert themselves in the standings.  The road to saving their season starts here.

The Wild face some adversity surrounding the availability of Ryan Suter and Matt Cooke as neither practiced yesterday.  Both are expected to play, but Erik Haula could draw in if Matt Cooke is unable to return to the team in time for the game following a funeral.  The team also had a couple incidents with actual flames, having to relocate from a hotel that was being evacuated due to a fire and also experiencing a fire alarm during Wednesday's practice.

Check out Matchsticks and Gasoline for intelligence from the other side.

Let's Walk the path to Calgary:

Wild News

Suter, Cooke miss practice; Parise's (partial) root canal; Yeo's treatment of Nino, Coyle | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com
Limping, a funeral, dental work, fire, a fire drill.  Just a day in the life of the Wild.

Minnesota Wild: Ryan Suter limping but expected to play - TwinCities.com
How may games have the entire top 4 played this year?

Coyle's late goal gives Wild a 2-1 victory in Edmonton | Star Tribune
Chowdah Chahlie saves the day.

Minnesota Wild: Charlie Coyle's late, great goal produces win - TwinCities.com
EDMONTON, Alberta - Charlie Coyle didn't realize just how far behind the goal line he was, that his skates were closer to the end boards than the net.

Coyle scores highlight-reel goal and Parise has a new type of highlight | Russo's Rants | StarTribune.com
Zach Parise called it a "boring game"

Wild notes: Yeo puts onus on second power-play unit | Star Tribune
Some talk of the :30 second squad

Wild hope Mikael Granlund can spark second power-play unit - TwinCities.com
He sure looked good on PP1...

Tending The Fields

Matt Dumba could be back if Wild decide 'we need him' - TwinCities.com
Back to the incubator for Dumba, but GMCF may hatch him again at a moment's notice.

AHL expected to announce new western division for 2015-16 Thursday - CBSSports.com
The American Hockey League is expected to make an announcement regarding the creation of a new division featuring new teams in California.

The Ice Hole

College Hockey News: Team of the Week: Bemidji State
Winners of the North Star College Cup

Gopher Hockey Notebook: Badgers deja vu, Wilcox making 100th appearance & more - SB Nation College Hockey
War with the cheddar!

Off The Trail

Kings, Flames, and Connor McDavid: What to watch for in NHL's second half - CBSSports.com
GREAT read. GREAT. READ. (c/o Chris)

Kings, Flames, and Connor McDavid: What to watch for in NHL's second half - CBSSports.com
The Wild are not even mentioned in this article.

Why the NHL's most hated players are never going away - CBSSports.com
#Goon4Ever

Islanders' Cal Clutterbuck fined by NHL for diving - CBSSports.com
Should he be more embarrassed for diving or for only being fined $2k?

VIDEO: Kid removes loose tooth by tying puck to it, taking slapshot - CBSSports.com
Stick tap to this young lad.

Recaps

NHL Recap - Toronto Maple Leafs at New Jersey Devils - Jan 28, 2015 - CBSSports.com

NHL Recap - Pittsburgh Penguins at Washington Capitals - Jan 28, 2015 - CBSSports.com