Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 29: A Wild homecoming (7pm MT, SN West)

After a successful, if a bit frantic, two game road trip, the Calgary Flames (17-9-2, 36 points) are back at home and hope to build upon their recent success when they host the Minnesota Wild (15-10-2, 32 points). Can the Flames rein in their somewhat scattershot defensive play against a team that’s historically been quite tight-checking?

The puck drops just after 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Bennett
Mangiapane – Jankowski – Neal
Lomberg – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic

Kylington – Andersson

Mike Smith starts for the Flames, backed up by David Rittich – both goalies gave up three goals against Columbus in that wild 9-6 victory. The projected scratches are Dalton Prout and Austin Czarnik, despite Czarnik scoring a pretty nice goal against Columbus.

The Flames are a strong offensive team, with many, many players capable of scoring many, many goals. And their defensive structure is generally fairly good. But when they give up scoring chances, they give up gigantic, high-danger chances. Case in point: they out-chanced Columbus on Tuesday, but the chances they gave up were scary. If they’re going to be a strong, sustainable hockey club, they’ll need to rein things in a bit.

The Wild

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Zucker – Staal – Granlund
Parise – Koivu – Coyle
Greenway – Eriksson Ek – Niederreiter
Foligno – Fehr – Hendricks

Suter – Spurgeon
Brodin – Dumba
Seeler – Pateryn

Alex Stalock starts for Minnesota, backed up by Devan Dubnyk (who’ll start tomorrow against Edmonton). The healthy scratches look to be Nate Prosser and J.T. Brown.

Minnesota’s in the middle of a three game Pacific Division trip, which they began with a 3-2 win against Vancouver. The Wild are in a weird spot in their franchise’s arc: they have a pretty strong top half of their roster, but they haven’t been able to find a mix of complementary players that quite “click” with their stars.

The Numbers

Wins 17 15
Points 36 32
Corsi Close 54.9% 49.8%
Power Play 23.8% 23.9%
Penalty Kill 75.9% 84.1%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Juuso Valimaki, Michael Frolik and Michael Stone.

The Wild are healthy.

Season Series

This is round one of three between the Flames and Wild.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Wild Twitter follows for tonight:

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