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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, February 1st (All times Eastern)
Minnesota Wild (29-21-6) at Calgary Flames (20-27-7), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Just two weeks after posting the longest home losing streak in club history, the Calgary Flames try to wrap a perfect five-game residency on Saturday night as they battle the Minnesota Wild.
The Flames dropped a club-worst seven in a row at Scotiabank Saddledome during a streak that spanned Dec. 27-Jan. 16. Following back-to-back road losses, Calgary returned home to begin a five-game homestand on Jan. 22 with a victory over Phoenix and has not looked back.
Victories over Nashville, Chicago and San Jose followed, giving the Flames a season-high four-game winning streak, their longest since a five-game run from March 6-15, 2012.
Coach Bob Hartley praised his team following Thursday's 4-1 win over the Sharks. Karri Ramo made 27 saves, supported by goals from Lee Stempniak, Mark Giordano, Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler.
Giordano, the club's captain, has four goals and four assists over an eight- game point streak.
"I told you a few weeks ago that I have tons of respect for our players. Tonight is not different. It is even better," said Hartley. "Those guys never stop working and right now they're getting rewarded. As a coaching staff we cannot be more happy then we are right now. Those guys deserve the credit.
"We beat quite a hockey club tonight. From Karri Ramo to the six D to the four lines, everyone is chipping in. I would say by far it is probably our best team win of the season."
Hartley's team continued its run minus forward Mike Cammalleri, who appeared as though he was in line to return to the club on Thursday night from a concussion that had kept him out the previous eight games. However, Hartley opted to give Cammalleri a bit more rest and he could play tonight.
Cammalleri has 13 goals with 21 points in 37 games this season.
The Wild come to Calgary with "Captain America" in tow as forward Zach Parise was named the captain of Team USA for the upcoming Winter Olympics.
Parise served as an alternate captain four years ago in Vancouver, when the U.S. won the silver medal. He tied for the team lead with four goals and eight points.
The 29-year-old Parise has 18 goals and 16 assists in 41 games this season, including three tallies and four assists in four games since coming back from a foot injury that held him out of 14 straight contests.
Parise's teammate and defenseman Ryan Suter will serve as one of the assistant captains in Russia along with Los Angeles forward Dustin Brown.
Parise had a pair of goals and two assists in Thursday's 5-4 setback to the Colorado Avalanche.
Parise's second goal came 7:47 into the third period and Mikael Granlund followed five minutes later with a goal that pulled the Flames to within one. However, Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon scored with 2:25 to play, though Jason Pominville followed with a goal off a Granlund feed 11 seconds later to keep it interesting.
Niklas Backstrom stopped eight shots in relief of Darcy Kuemper, who was yanked from the game following 36 minutes of work after allowing four goals on 23 shots in his ninth straight start.
"They do a lot of good things and we got away from what we do best," Pominville said. "When we got back to that, I mean, they couldn't handle the way we were playing so we have to get back to that, be more consistent at doing that night-in-and-night-out."
Minnesota fell to 1-1-1 on a four-game road trip and sits seventh overall in the Western Conference with 64 points, nine back of Colorado for third place in the Central Division.
The Wild have won five of their last seven versus the Flames, including a 5-1 victory at home on Nov. 5 in the first of three meetings this season.
Minnesota has won eight of its last 12 in Calgary.
02/01 11:23:23 ET
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