It’s only been a little more than a week since the Wild visited Calgary, but the team isn’t anticipating the tense vibes that closed out that 2-0 loss to the Flames to reignite Saturday when it hosts the rematch at Xcel Energy Center.
“Not at all,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We need the points, and they need the points.”
A knee-on-knee hit by Calgary captain Mark Giordano on Wild captain Mikko Koivu seemed to rachet up the intensity in the third period Dec.6 before defenseman Matt Dumba’s hit on center Mikael Backlund took the animosity to another level.
Dumba was jumped by winger Ryan Lomberg, who was hit with a slew of penalties and a suspension for instigating the fight.
Backlund, who suffered a concussion, hasn’t played since. Neither has Koivu, who’s been out with a lower-body injury. But Koivu is considered a game-time decision.
“It looks like he’s getting close,” Boudreau said.
Calgary has continued to be productive since that win over the Wild, losing just once in three games. And although the Wild finished that Western Canada road trip, it’s rebounded at home – starting a four-game homestand with a pair of wins.
“The league is so tight now, and you lose three or four in a row or you go through any bad stretch and you fall behind,” Boudreau said. “So you can’t, whether we’re home or whether we’re on the road. We need to play as well as we can, and we need to get points.”
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund
Zach Parise-Charlie Coyle-Nino Niederreiter
Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno-Matt Hendricks-Eric Fehr
Ryan Suter-Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Jared Spurgeon
Nick Seeler-Greg Pateryn
12: Goals for the Wild during its homestand.
80: Points for Wild defensemen, tied for third in the NHL.
5: Blocked shots Thursday for forward Eric Fehr, who ranks second among Wild forwards in that category.
22: Assists for defenseman Ryan Suter, a team-high.
2: Goals surrendered by goalie Devan Dubnyk over his last two starts.
About the Flames:
Calgary leads the Pacific Division and is third in the Western Conference amid a torrid stretch of late. The team has lost just once in its past seven games, a run that included a five-game win streak. Its top line featuring wingers Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm and center Sean Monahan has been dynamic; the three have combined for 26 points in their last five games. Overall, Monahan paces the team in goals with 20, while Gaudreau has the most points with 42. Goalie David Rittich, who will start vs. the Wild, is 9-3-1 with a .921 save percentage and 2.31 goals-against average.