NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, April 21st
(All times Eastern)
Calgary Flames (18-22-4) at Minnesota Wild (24-17-3), 6 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The playoff-hopeful Minnesota Wild will try to rebound from
a lopsided loss on Sunday, but they'll have to do so against a Calgary club
that has really taken to its spoiler role.
With 51 points, the Wild are currently holding onto the seventh out of eight
playoff seeds in the Western Conference and are two points ahead of Columbus
and three in front of ninth-place Detroit.
The Wild and Red Wings, who are idle on Sunday, each have four games left
in the season, while Columbus only has three tilts remaining, including
Sunday's battle in San Jose.
Minnesota is trying to end a four-year playoff drought and return to the
postseason for the first time since 2008. The Wild had won two in a row before
getting thumped Thursday evening in San Jose, as Logan Couture posted two
goals and two assists to lift the Sharks to an easy 6-1 win.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored the lone goal of the game for the Wild and Niklas
Backstrom was pulled in the third period after giving up five goals on 27
shots. Darcy Kuemper played the final 15-plus minutes in net and gave up a
goal on two shots faced.
"We just weren't executing," Wild forward Jason Pominville said. "We have to
put it behind us and look ahead."
Ahead for the Wild is a three-game homestand that begins tonight and also
features tests against Los Angeles and Edmonton. Minnesota then will close the
regular season Saturday at Colorado.
Minnesota has a solid 13-6-2 record at home this season, but the Wild face a
Flames team that has won four of its last five games despite being eliminated
from playoff contention. However, the Wild were able to record a 4-3
regulation win in Calgary on Monday, giving Minnesota wins in two straight and
four of the last five meetings in this series.
Calgary is only 5-13-2 as the visiting team in 2013 and is closing the season
on a four-game road trip that begins tonight. The Flames have lost two
straight and three of five in St. Paul.
Roman Horak and Brian McGrattan scored one goal apiece to lead the
Flames to Friday's 3-1 win over the reeling Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim already has
clinched a playoff spot, but has lost four straight games while trying to
wrap up the Pacific Division title.
Roman Cervenka added an empty-netter and Mike Cammalleri had a pair of assists
for the Flames.
"We played such a great game, but knowing that we're leaving this rink until
next training camp is sad," Flames head coach Bob Hartley said.
Miikka Kiprusoff made 32 saves for the win in what could be his final home
game in Calgary. The longtime Flames goaltender has hinted at retiring after
04/21 11:11:22 ET