Calgary at Minnesota
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, April 9, 2016
Where: Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Interim coach John Torchetti isn't willing to significantly alter his approach even though the Minnesota Wild are locked in as the Western Conference's eighth seed heading into the playoffs. With many of the team's regulars expected to see some ice time, Minnesota looks to re-ignite its ailing offense and snap a four-game skid on Saturday when they host the Calgary Flames.
"Probably the most successful team in the NFL is the (New England) Patriots, and they play everybody in the last game of the year," Torchetti told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The one exception, however, is veteran forward Zach Parise, who will nurse a few nagging injuries from the press box. Minnesota needs all hands on deck as it has mustered just five goals during its losing streak, a stark contrast to Saturday's opponent - Calgary has erupted for 16 tallies during a 2-0-1 run. Mikael Backlund is responsible for six of those goals, including three in Thursday's 7-3 rout versus Vancouver for his first career NHL hat trick.TV:
7 p.m. ET, City (Calgary), FSN North (Minnesota)ABOUT THE FLAMES (34-40-7):
Veteran goaltender Niklas Backstrom likely could make his final NHL start against Minnesota, with which he serves as the club's all-time leader in wins and shutouts. Making just his second start of the season, the 38-year-old Finn was blitzed for six goals on 29 shots in a 6-2 setback to the Wild on March 24. Johnny Gaudreau scored in that contest and has two tallies and three assists during his three-game point streak.ABOUT THE WILD (38-32-11):
When Minnesota opens the playoffs against either Dallas or St. Louis, it will be without veteran forward Thomas Vanek. The 32-year-old Austrian was cross-checked by Chicago's Viktor Svedberg on March 29 and will miss "more than a week" in the eyes of Torchetti, which will be at least two postseason games. Vanek, who was goalless in his last 14 contests, recorded just 18 tallies for the lowest output of his 11-year career while his 41 points match his personal-low total from 2012-13.OVERTIME
1. Minnesota has won six consecutive encounters in the series.
2. The Flames have scored seven power-play goals in their last six games and also tallied with the man advantage in both contests versus the Wild.
3. Mired in a 10-game goalless drought, Minnesota RW Jason Pominville has scored a goal and set up two others in two meetings with Calgary this season.PREDICTION:
Wild 4, Flames 2
Stats and Records