Eye on The Prize

The Calgary Flames are nearly in the playoffs, but they've also got their eyes on a division title.

The Flames can clinch a spot in the postseason on Thursday when they visit the Northwest Division-leading Minnesota Wild.

Calgary (41-29-10) is in seventh place in the Western Conference, three points ahead of eighth-place Nashville. The Flames can earn a postseason berth by earning one point in their final two games, or with a Vancouver loss.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Minnesota -148 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 67% of bets for this game have been placed on Calgary +138 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

Calgary is in third place in the Northwest, but trails the Wild (43-28-9) by just three points. Minnesota owns a two-point lead over Colorado in the division race.

The Flames and Wild both have one game remaining after Thursday. Calgary closes out the regular season on Saturday at Vancouver, while the Wild play at Colorado on Sunday.

Minnesota has already clinched a spot in the postseason.

"I don't think there was any doubt in any of our minds that we'd make the playoffs," Wild forward Brian Rolston said. "We're trying to stay on top of our division right now, that's our main focus."

The Flames have won their last five games overall against the Wild and four of five in Minnesota. Calgary is 27-9-4 with four ties all-time against the Wild.

The Flames knocked Edmonton out of the playoff race on Tuesday with a 3-2 win. Owen Nolan scored the game-winner with 3:44 left for Calgary, which had been outscored 8-3 in losing its previous two games.

"In certain areas we'd like to have pushed back more than we did at times but we found a way to win the game and that's what it's about at this time of year, winning games in different ways," captain Jarome Iginla said. "After they got one we settled down on the bench and had a little bit of a push after and got the goal right back. It was great."

The Wild earned their playoff berth minutes before their last game, when Detroit beat Nashville on Sunday. But the news didn't slow them down, as they defeated Colorado 3-2 in overtime for their third straight win.

"I feel good with the way we're playing. I like the way we're playing," said coach Jacques Lemaire, who earned his 499th career coaching win. "I like the way the guys are playing for the team. I like that."

Marian Gaborik scored two goals Sunday, including the game-winner, and has a franchise-record 80 points for the Wild. Rolston also scored, giving him 30 goals for the third straight season.

"I like very much what we did in the third because when a team comes back from a two-goal deficit, they're on the run, they feel good and they feel that they'll win the game," said Lemaire, whose team blew a 2-0 lead going into the second. "You have to respond, and we did."

Niklas Backstrom made 24 saves and improved to 9-1-4 since taking over the starting job full time on Feb. 27.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

More NHL Hockey coverage from theSpread.com

 - NHL Hockey news wire
 - NHL top stories
 - Current NHL injuries
 - NHL Hockey schedule
 - NHL Hockey standings
 - NHL goalie stats
 - NHL Hockey scoreboard
 - NHL Hockey odds
 - NHL public betting charts
 - Expert NHL Picks
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for theSpread.com daily newsletter
 - NHL Home

Advertisement

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Caps trying to regain footing out East   Washington didn’t exactly end the month of November on a stirring note. But can the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winner return to form against the Islanders?
Thumbnail Luongo attempts to give Florida a jolt A new era of Panthers hockey begins tonight. But can the Blackhawks stand tall and deliver yet another stellar performance at the...
Thumbnail Lack of scoring punch hurting Ruff's crew Two of the Western Conference’s most dangerous clubs square off tonight in the Gateway City. Will the Blues or Stars come out on top?
Thumbnail Stellar goaltending powers Calgary's success When Johnny Gaudreau went down with a broken finger two weeks ago, all seemed for the Flames. Now, though, they’ve morphed into one of the Western...
Thumbnail Rookie phenom leads Toronto into battle   Washington is in the midst of a brutal stretch in the schedule. Can Alex Ovechkin & Co. dig deep to fend off the Maple Leafs...
More inNHL Articles  

NHL Headlines

More inNHL News  
Advertisement

NHL Team Pages