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Preview: Calgary Flames @ Minnesota Wild 12/12/17 (31/82): 2 Important Points Are Up For Grabs

The Flames and Wild are only separated by a single point in the Western Conference.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames @ Minnesota Wild 6 PM MT, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul MN

Where To Watch & Listen

BroadcastSchedule
BroadcastSchedule
TV: SNW
Radio: Sportsnet 960

The Flames cruise into Minnesota tonight to do battle with the Wild in another game that has WC implications. Calgary just finished up one of those on Saturday night as they defeated the Vancouver Canucks by the score of 4-2. The Flames and Wild are currently separated by 1 point, with Calgary barely sitting ahead on Minny in the standings. The Wild took first meeting of the season between these two, 4-2 back on October 21st.

The Flames may have partially saved their season and their coach with 2 straight wins to close out last week over Montreal and Vancouver. The win against Vancouver saw the Flames leap frog over Vancouver and take hold of the top WC spot and the win over Montreal featured David Rittich in net. Calgary got a more than solid performance from their back up goalie in a big game, something that will surely ease the coaching staff’s mind when it comes to giving Mike Smith some time off.

The Wild are getting it done lately, but they’re doing it the hard way. Minnesota has won 5 of their last 8, but they’ve needed overtime or a shoot out 4 times, including back to back overtime wins. Devin Dubnyk is 3-2-0 in his last 5 starts and has given up 3 or more goals in 3 of those games.

These two teams match up fairly evenly on paper. Their records are similar. Their point totals are similar. Their #1 goalies stats are similar. This should be an evenly played game and whoever ends up with the victory will get a little breathing room in the Western Conference.

Tale Of The Tape

Calgary Flames Stats Minnesota Wild
Calgary Flames Stats Minnesota Wild
16-12-2 Record 15-11-3
34 Points 33
4th Pacific Division 5th Central
8th West Conference 9th West
2-2-1 Last 5 4-1-0
86 Goals For 86
93 Goals Against 86
Monahan (17) Goals Zucker (14)
Gaudreau (37) Points Staal (26)
Hamonic (38) PIM Quincey (28)
Smith (.918) Save% Dubnyk (.914)
19.4 (14th) PP% 22.5 (5th)
76.5 (28th) PK% 81.8 (13th)
0-1-0 2017-18 VS 1-0-0
46-37-4 Overall VS 37-46-4

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Player Record GAA Save%
Player Record GAA Save%
Flames: Smith (E) 13-9-2 2.68 .918
Wild: Dubnyk (E) 12-8-2 2.73 .914

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 4 Vancouver Canucks 2

The Flames came into the 3rd period Saturday night losing 2-1, that’s when Calgary took over. The good guys scored 3 unanswered goals in the final period to send the Canucks home losers 4-2. Here’s our recap and the highlights from NHL.com

Minnesota Wild 4 San Jose Sharks 3 (OT)

Minnesota played back to back overtime games and they won them both, the last coming Sunday night. The win got the Wild within 2 points of the Sharks in the Western Conference despite blowing a 3 goal lead. Hockey Wilderness has the recap and NHL.com provides the highlights.

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Tkachuk (F). Tkachuk came back from his 1 game suspension and all he did was score 2 goals in the Flames 4-2 win over the Canucks Saturday night. The now 20 year old forward looked motivated and driven as he lead the team to victory. Tkachuk’s 2 goals broke a 12 game streak where he couldn’t find the back of the net and if he starts to heat up, the Flames will have 3 lines clicking at full speed, which is scary. Of Matthew Tkachuk’s 19 points, 10 have come on the road, along with 21 of his 29 PIM.

Minnesota Wild

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Staal (C). The 13 year NHL vet leads the Wild in assists (14) and points (26). He recently had a 3 point night (2G 1A) against the Sharks, which gave him 5 points in his last 5. Staal has half of his points at home and he has 17 when the Wild find the win column. Prior to this season he had only 1 point in his previous 5 encounters with the Flames, but he equaled that total in Minnesota’s 4-2 win over the Flames by grabbing an assist.