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Preview: Calgary Flames @ Minnesota Wild 1/5/20 (43/82): Wild & Flames On The Outside Looking In

Both teams are currently out of the playoffs.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Minnesota Wild Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames @ Minnesota Wild, 5:00 PM MT, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul MN

TV: SN - Radio: Sportsnet 960

Calgary Flames 21-17-5 (47 pts) - Minnesota Wild 20-17-5 (45 pts)

NHL Standings

The Flames leave the not so friendly confines of the Scotiabank Saddledome for a two game road trip that starts in Minnesota with the Wild. Calgary was able to snap a two game losing streak with a 4-3 win over the NY Rangers Thursday night, but it wasn’t an easy task. The Flames jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead that evaporated before you could even process that they had an early lead. Despite that minor collapse, an early lead is a good thing for the Flames. Calgary had been struggling in the first period, giving up six first period goals in losses to the Blackhawks and Canucks.

Calgary sits at fifth place in the Pacific Division and that’s now becoming an issue. Just last week only a few points separated 5th place from the top of the division, but that has changed. Calgary is seven points behind front running Vegas and five points behind second place Arizona. Calgary also sits at 9th in the West and that puts them out of the playoffs currently, just one point behind the Winnipeg Jets for the last WC spot. There’s still plenty of hockey left for the Flames, but the clock is ticking on this consistently inconsistent team.

The Minnesota Wild are in a similar position to the Flames, sitting in 10th place in the West. A win tonight for the Wild would put them in a tie for 9th place with the Flames at 47 points. Minnesota is an even 5-5-0 in their last 10 with goal scoring being an issue. They have eclipsed the four goal mark three times, but have only scored seven goals in those five losses. Like many teams struggling this season the Wild can’t keep the puck out of their own net. They have allowed the 5th most goals in the NHL in 2019-20 so far with 138 pucks finding the back of the net. And a decent amount of those have come on the PK with the Wild ranking 23rd overall, killing penalties at a rate of 77%.

The Flames and Wild last met on December 23rd with the Wild shutting the Flames out 3-0. Flames and Wild games are never exciting and this one ranks right up there in the halls of snooze. Calgary mustered only 22 shots on goal that night while the Wild blocked 14 Flames shots. The Flames have lost six of their last 10 games in Minnesota, including their only meeting this season.

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Rittich (E)- 17-10-5, 2.78 GAA, .912 Save

Wild: Stalock (E)- 9-6-2, 3.02 GAA, .901 Save%

Team Leaders

Flames: Goals: Lindholm (16) Points: Tkachuk (36) PIM: Lucic (34) Save%: Talbot (.913)

Wild: Goals: Staal (16) Points: Staal (33) PIM: Hartman (50) Save%: Stalock (.901)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Minnesota Wild Coverage: Hockey Wilderness

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 4 - NY Rangers 3

Minnesota Wild 3 - Winnipeg Jets 2 (OT)

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

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

Johnny Gaudreau (F): 4 points in last 5 games

Minnesota Wild

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Suter (D): 4 points in last 5 games