Although most clubs would usually prefer the comforts of home, I suspect that the Flames are happy to hit the road for a few days. Wednesday’s third period collapse appears to have a few more members of the fanbase crying “Havoc”, so this evening’s affair in front of the stoic Svens of the North Star State might seem like a blessedly peaceful alternative.
Minnesota lost in their last outing as well, falling 4-2 to the Coyotes in an affair that was most notable for the return of Pierre-Marc Bouchard to the team’s lineup. He was a pretty decent player before his concussion, and after he knocks off about 18 months of rust, he might be a useful addition to a team that’s starved for skill. The game on Monday was one where the Wild struggled quite badly when Martin Havlat was off the ice, so any worthwhile skater appears welcome for Minnesota at the moment.
With only a few days separating the games there’s no compelling reason to reiterate too much of my preview from Monday, except to add that if the Flames can play about 50 minutes at EV again, they should have a sniff at this one. The line juggling by Todd Richards that preceded the last encounter didn’t get much traction after the first 20 minutes, which might lead one to think that we might see a different strategy when the Wild have last change.
That noted, I can’t help but think he’d take his chances with Koivu having another go at the Backlund line. The Wild’s best player never really got anything happening on Monday, which seems to be his pattern this season when he’s not on the PP, but he has enough quality history on his side to hint at better things.
At any rate, the task again seems pretty clear for the men in Red. Stay out of the box, and maybe, just maybe, remember that tonight’s match is scheduled to commence at approximately 7:10 CST, 6:10 MST. The club has plenty of other holes, obviously, but the ongoing routine of arriving to the fray about an hour after the opening faceoff is a flaw that needs to end, tout de suite.