FGD 33: Flames go for a Wild brunch (11:30am MT, SN West)

The Calgary Flames (20-10-2, 42 points) haven’t historically had a contentious rivalry with the Minnesota Wild (17-12-2, 36 points), who they play today. But in their last meeting the Flames lost alternate captain Mikael Backlund and the Wild lost captain Mikko Koivu. The rematch will probably be a bit more emotional than most Flames/Wild games.

The action kicks off at 11:30 a.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Ryan – Bennett
Mangiapane – Jankowski – Neal
rotating – Quine – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson

David Rittich starts for the Flames, backed up by Jon Gillies. Austin Czarnik is their lone healthy scratch as they go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, likely for fighty reasons.

The Flames are 15-5-2 since getting stomped by the Pittsburgh Penguins in late October. They’ve been a bit loose defensively and their puck management is a bit iffy – two attributes that were front and center at times on Wednesday against Philadelphia – but the team is confident in their abilities to score key goals at key moments. They’re a potent offensive group and they could become something very interesting if they can tighten up defensively.

Based on projections from The Atheltic’s Dom Luszczyszyn, if the Flames go roughly .500 for the rest of the season they’ll make the playoffs. Maybe it’s time to set expectations for this group a tad higher than that.

The Wild

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Greenway – Staal – Granlund
Parise – Coyle – Niederreiter
Foligno – Eriksson Ek – Kunin
Fehr – Hendricks – Brown

Suter – Dumba
Brodin – Spurgeon
Seeler – Pateryn

Devan Dubnyk starts for the Wild, backed up by Alex Stalock. The healthy extras look to be Nate Prosser and J.T. Brown, while Mikko Koivu is a game-time decision – if he slots in, likely he’ll bump out someone from the third line.

Update: No Koivu today, and no Jason Zucker due to an illness. J.T. Brown slots in.

The Wild have kept chugging along this season, not really hitting their stride but still finding ways to bounce back from some rough outings. Since the Flames beat them 2-0 last week, they’ve were wiped out 7-2 by Edmonton but then bounced back for a pair of big wins over Florida and Montreal (outscoring their opponents 12-2 in those games). If you’re not playing a good defensive game, the Wild can hurt you quite a bit.

The Numbers

Wins 20 17
Points 42 36
Corsi Close 54.5% 49.5%
Power Play 22.1% 25.3%
Penalty Kill 78.2% 84.8%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Mike Smith, Mikael Backlund, Juuso Valimaki, Michael Frolik and Michael Stone.

The Wild are without Mikko Koivu, who’s a game-time decision for tonight.

Season Series

This is the second of three games between the Flames and Wild. The Flames beat Minnesota 2-0 a week ago in Calgary. They’ll finish off the season series back in Calgary on Mar. 2.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Wild Twitter follows for today:

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