CALGARY, Alberta – After a three-day break in the schedule, the Wild is back in action Thursday against the team it last faced before this mini-hiatus – visiting the Flames in Calgary to wrap up the three-game season series.
The Wild won the first meeting, 3-0, and the Flames took Round 2 in a shootout 5-4 last Sunday.
“Good practices are always advantageous, especially when you haven’t had a chance to practice for a while,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Usually, a lot of times … you start losing because you haven’t practiced in a while and you have to get back to the basics and I thought we did that – especially the second practice. And hopefully it works out in our favor today.”
Goalie Alex Stalock is scheduled to start, meaning the Wild is expected to roll out the same lineup that it did Sunday when it last played.
While the Wild was idle, the gap between it and a playoff spot widened.
Calgary is sitting in the second wild card spot with five more points than the Wild. The Canucks, whom the Wild will play next on Sunday at Xcel Energy Center, is also ahead of the Wild by four points.
“Every time you take three days off, teams are gaining on you – not only gaining on you or going way past you,” Boudreau said. “It’s tough to do it but we know every team’s gotta do it. That’s the thing you keep thinking about, ‘OK, they’re going to get their break.’ And you gotta make hay when the sun shines. When it’s your opportunity, you gotta take advantage of it.”
Ryan Donato-Eric Staal-Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Kevin Fiala
Marcus Foligno-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Jordan Greenway-Victor Rask-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy-Brad Hunt
13: Points for defenseman Ryan Suter in the last 12 games.
8-5-2: Record for the Wild in his last 15 games.
3: Goals for winger Marcus Foligno in his past two games.
1: Assist for center Joel Eriksson Ek in each of his last two games.
13-6-2: Showing for the Wild in its last 21 games at the Scotiabank Saddeldome.
About the Flames:
Since visiting Minnesota on Sunday, the Flames went into Chicago and got by the Blackhawks 2-1. That lifted them to 51 points – five ahead of the Wild. In its last 10 games against the Wild, Calgary is 6-3-1. Center Elias Lindholm leads the Flames in goals with 18. Winger Matthew Tkachuk has a team-high 38 points. Goalie David Rittich is 18-10-5 with a 2.81 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.