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Calgary Flames vs Minnesota Wild game preview: As the playoffs draw nearer

The Flames are currently seventh in the west in points percentage. The Wild are ninth. It's pretty tight.

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild met, Devan Dubnyk shut the Flames out for the first time this season. All it took was one Mark Giordano giveaway for the Wild to take the game. There are still two meetings left between the clubs this season, and two chances for the Flames to take the season series. The Wild have been making a hell of a playoff push as of late, and that season series win could end up being a crucial tiebreaker. So this one's big.

When we last met the Flames, Karri Ramo gave up three goals to the Boston Bruins. It wasn't entirely on him, but he got the hook. With a potential fourth goal scare waved off, the Flames finally responded: first with a David Jones tally, and then two Jiri Hudler ones. And then TJ Brodie scored the greatest overtime winner of all time. | RecapStatsBoxscore | That game could not have ended any better:

And what of the Wild? Well, out of 14 starts Dubnyk has only lost two regulation games for them. He's been pretty crucial to their playoff push, and it's kind of scary. The Wild are actually 8-1-1 in their last 10, so they've really been coming on strong. That one loss came from their most recent game, though: a 3-2 drop to the Vancouver Canucks, in a game that, very mercifully, did not go to overtime, and so, no loser points were handed out. This just a week after they beat those same Canucks 5-3. Are we gonna make up our minds which one of them is going to make the playoffs? (Preferably not both. Also honestly, preferably the Wild. Just... don't win tonight, though.)

Once disparaged Swiss prospect Nino Niederreiter scored both those goals. Need to know more? Head on over to Hockey Wilderness.

Game time: 7:30 p.m. MT

Channel: SN1

All-time record: It's a 42-23-4-9 all-time win for the Flames. Both teams have scored 178 goals against each other, though. So that's weird.

Common threads: Swiss prospects, Granlunds, and Matt Dumba is from Calgary. This would be easier if we were the Buffalo Sabres, because like half of the Wild is composed by former Sabres.

Approaching milestones: Games played countdown: Deryk Engelland needs to dress another six times to reach 300; while Mason Raymond, another nine times for 500.

David Jones is 10 goals away from 100! And TJ Brodie is seven points away from 100! If Brodie's 100th point is an assist off of Jones' 100th goal, who gets the puck? I mean, probably Jones, but.

As for the enemy, Kyle Brodziak needs another four goals to reach 100, so that's probably not happening tonight, knock on wood. Ryan Suter requires another nine assists for 300, so get that against some other team, Ryan. Same goes for Thomas Vanek needing eight more points to reach 600, Matt Cooke requiring four more points for 400, and Jared Spurgeon six away from 100. Nah. Especially not for Cooke.

Scoreboard watching: Because screaming at boxscores is legitimately a lot of fun:

Current records and leaders

Calgary Flames Minnesota Wild
Record: 32-22-3: 67 points Record: 28-21-7: 63 points
Pacific Division: 3rd Central Division: 5th
Western Conference: 7th Western Conference: 10th
Goal Differential: +19 Goal Differential: +3
Time on ice
Defence: TJ Brodie (25:10 per game)
Forward: Sean Monahan (19:10 per game)
Defence: Ryan Suter (29:11 per game)
Forward: Mikko Koivu (19:31 per game)
Goals: Sean Monahan (19)
Assists: Mark Giordano (36)
Points: Jiri Hudler
Mark Giordano (47)
Goals: Zach Parise (23)
Assists: Jason Pominville (29)
Points: Zach Parise (42)
Shots on goal: Mark Giordano (146)
Shooting percentage: Jiri Hudler (18.4%)
Shots on goal: Jason Pominville (182)
Shooting percentage: Matt Cooke (17.4%)
Faceoff Leaders
Sean Monahan (49.9%, 1243 taken) Mikko Koivu (55.7%, 1259 taken)
Penalty minutes: Brandon Bollig (52)
Hits: Lance Bouma (185)
Blocked shots: Kris Russell (181)
Penalty minutes: Ryan Carter (53)
Hits: Nino Niederreiter (99)
Blocked shots: Jared Spurgeon (98)
ES Corsi/Fenwick (minimum 1/2 team's games played)
Corsi for%: Mark Giordano (49.4%, 57 GP)
TJ Brodie (48.6%, 57 GP) 
Fenwick for%: Josh Jooris (50.2%, 41 GP)
Mark Giordano (49.6%, 57 GP)
Corsi for%: Mikko Koivu (55.1%, 56 GP)
Jason Pominville (54.8%, 56 GP)
Fenwick for%: Jason Pominville (56.1%, 56 GP)
Mikko Koivu (55.8%, 56 GP)

Possible starting lineups

Calgary Flames
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Jiri Hudler
Lance Bouma Mikael Backlund David Jones
Curtis Glencross Josh Jooris Mason Raymond
Brandon Bollig Matt Stajan Joe Colborne
Left Defence Right Defence
Mark Giordano TJ Brodie
Kris Russell Dennis Wideman
Rafa Diaz Deryk Engelland
Jonas Hiller
Karri Ramo

Minnesota Wild
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Zach Parise Mikko Koivu Jason Pominville
Thomas Vanek Mikael Granlund Justin Fontaine
Nino Niederreiter Charlie Coyle Jordan Schroeder
Stephane Veilleux Erik Haula Kyle Brodziak
Left Defence Right Defence
Ryan Suter Jonas Brodin
Marco Scandella Jared Spurgeon
Nate Prosser Matt Dumba
Devan Dubnyk
Darcy Kemper

Paul Byron looks like he's a game-time decision, so for now, it's Bollig taking his spot in the lineup. Hopefully whatever's ailing Byron isn't too serious and he'll be able to step right back in, because... yeah.

On the other side, Thomas Vanek is doubtful to play, which helps a little.