Minnesota at Calgary
When: 9:00 PM
ET, Thursday, January 29, 2015
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
The surprising Calgary Flames are holding down the final playoff slot in the Western Conference and look to create more separation from their pursuers when they host the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. The Flames kicked off a six-game homestand with a 4-1 victory over Buffalo on Tuesday, getting a pair of goals from rookie sensation Johnny Gaudreau. Calgary has won eight of its last nine against Western Conference opponents - four coming in overtime.
Minnesota, which is among a cluster of teams chasing the Flames, won for only the third time in 11 games (3-6-2) with a 2-1 victory at Edmonton on Tuesday. Charlie Coyle's spectacular breakaway goal late in the third period served as the game-winner but Zach Parise also had a highlight-reel moment when he took a puck to his face and lost a tooth, which he picked up off the ice. “I thought maybe there was a chance (to save the tooth), but it doesn’t look like it’s going to go back in,” Parise said.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), RSW (Calgary)
ABOUT THE WILD (21-20-6): Nino Niederreiter snapped out of a long goal drought, scoring for the first time in 18 games to establish a career high with 15 tallies. “So many times I’ve been close and I don’t know how it doesn’t go in,” Niederreiter said of his slump. “When you’re not scoring goals and playing with confidence, that’s when you pass up shooting pucks. I need to get to the net and go back to having a shooting mentality.” All-Star defenseman Ryan Suter sat out practice Wednesday but coach Mike Yeo said he expects him to play.
ABOUT THE FLAMES (26-19-3): Gaudreau moved into a tie with Sean Monahan for the team lead with 15 goals and has recorded at least one point in three straight games and five of six - excluding his two-assist effort at the All-Star Game. "Playing with (Jiri Hudler) and (Monahan), those are two skilled guys," Gaudreau said. "It's hard not to create offensive chances when you're playing with two guys like that. We're making plays in the offensive zone." Gaudreau's power-play tally ended an 0-for-14 skid with the man advantage for Calgary.
1. Flames G Jonas Hiller is 11-5-1 with a 2.39 goals-against average versus Minnesota.
2. The Wild are 8-4-1 in their last 13 games in Calgary.
3. The Flames have outscored opponents 59-32 in the third period.
PREDICTION: Flames 3, Wild 2
Stats and Records