It’s a quick turnaround for the Minnesota Wild. They’ll have a chance to get back on the horse at the Saddledome in Calgary for the second night of a back-to-back.
The Wild (1-2-2) are coming off a disappointing 4-3 loss in Winnipeg last night. The puck drops at 9 p.m. against the Flames (4-3-0). Frustration may be building for the Wild, as evidenced by some of the postgame comments Friday night. Coach Bruce Boudreau used the words “soul searching” to describe game No. 5 of 82.
Last season, the Flames beat the Wild in all three meetings -- including one in a shootout in Calgary. The Wild are 14-23-6 all-time in Calgary but 11-5-2 in their last 18 there following starting 3-18-4.
Besides injuries, the Wild’s defense and special teams are a couple of concerns. The Wild’s penalty kill gave up two goals in Winnipeg. As a whole, they’ve allowed six goals on 21 attempts (71.4 percent -- 30th in NHL). However, the Wild are 5-for-15 on their power play, tied for first in the league. They’ve scored with the man advantage in four straight games.
The Wild have allowed four or more goals in four of five games this season, all resulting in losses. All things considered, a tidy 2-1 victory might be a welcomed sight for this squad right now.
Expect backup goaltender Alex Stalock to be in the net tonight for his second start of the season, a logical choice with back-to-back games. Stalock (0-0-1) has made one start this year -- an effort where he gave up four goals and a shootout winner in the Wild’s 5-4 loss Oct. 7 at Carolina.
Chris Stewart is still the team leader in goals and points (5-2-7). He has a point in every game this season. Mikko Koivu and Eric Staal each have three goals this season, while Jason Zucker leads in assists with four. Minnesota mainstay Koivu leads the Wild with 34 career points in 59 games against Calgary (13-21—34).
For the Flames, Johnny Gaudreau is already into double-digit points with two goals and eight assists in his first seven games. Jaromir Jagr, 45, has two assists in four games with the Flames.
Mikael Granlund came on the road trip, but didn't play Friday, and is also out tonight. Forward Landon Ferraro got injured last night, so he'll also be out. The Wild will go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen.
Last season, the Wild went 7-5-2 on the first night of back-to-backs and 7-4-3 the second night. Tonight also wraps up a stretch of five-of-six games on the road before the Wild comes home for a lengthy stay.
Nino Niederreiter (high left ankle sprain)
Charlie Coyle (right fibula fracture)
Mikael Granlund (groin)
Zach Parise (undisclosed)
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