A move that may have seemed puzzling last night putting backup goaltender Jamie McLennan in goal against the juggernaut Red Wings for his NHL debut may make a lot more sense tonight as the Calgary Flames face a team that they will likely be battling it out with for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
While beating Detroit is a nice bonus, and good for confidence, it's games like these the four-pointers that ultimately determine the overall success of the season.
All-time the Flames have surprisingly shown a lot of success against the Minnesota Wild, sporting a 5-2-2 record. They're only 2-2-1-0 in Minnesota, however.
KEYS TO SUCCESS:
- Forget about last night. While falling to Detroit was a disappointing defeat, the team needs to put it behind them and concentrate on getting two important points tonight they need to learn from their special teams blunders, however.
- Limit your mistakes. The Flames are going to be a weary bunch tonight after playing last night in Detroit. If they can limit their mistakes, they should be able to capitalize on their opportunities and pull this one out.
BY THE NUMBERS:
The opposition has now scored first in five of Calgary's six games (1-3-1-0). A win last night would have put the Flames almost on pace with last season's incredible start as they had eight points at this time last year and would have had seven with the win last night. The Flames were 2-1-0-0 on the road in their first three games last year and have the same record this year. The difference is the 0-2-1-0 record at home versus 2-0-0-1 last season.
The Minnesota Wild are a perfect 3-0-0-0 when they are leading after one period. They are also 3-1-1-0 when outshot by their opponents. The Wild's franchise record in overtime is a paltry 4-14-26.
Calgary: Jamie Wright (flu) might miss tonight's game as well.
Minnesota: Darby Hendrickson (fractured arm) is out until January. Matt Johnson (back spasms) is out indefinitely.
WHO TO WATCH:
Calgary: Roman Turek, with an extra day's rest, should prove that the gamble of putting McLennan in last night would eventually pay off. Also keep an eye on the Flames power play. It's in big trouble if it hasn't made the necessary adjustments after last night's pathetic outing.
Minnesota: Who would have thought that Bill Muckalt would experience such resurgence in Minnesota? Last season with Ottawa in 70 games he managed no goals and eight assists. This season so far, in five games Muckalt has four goals and three assists for seven points. Manny Fernandez has been a big reason for the Wild's fast start. In three games, he has a 1.01 GAA and .967 save percentage.
"I can honestly say I've never thought about hockey so much or been as excited about it again. I think the last couple of years, three shoulder surgeries and then going through (the drought), it hasn't been an easy road. It's nice to be having some fun again, and having some success as a team." Wild forward Bill Muckalt, who has almost equaled last season's eight point total in only five games.
"No (I never played against Igor Larionov) but maybe in my next life. "The way he's going, he'll play until he is 70."Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire.
FLAMES LAST 10 GAMES vs. WILD