Flames vs. Wild Preview
St. Paul, MN - After losing their last three games at home, the Calgary Flames may be looking forward to hitting the road.
The Flames begin a four-game trip Friday night in Minnesota hoping to defeat a Wild team against which they've had little recent success.
Oddsmakers from online sports book BroburySports.com have made the Wild –130 money line favorites for Friday's game against the Flames. Current MLB Public Betting Information shows that 67% of more than 625 bets for this game have been placed on the Wild -130.
Calgary (6-6-0) lost 2-1 to Detroit on Wednesday despite leading after the first period for the seventh straight game - a stretch in which it's merely 3-4-0.
Rene Bourque went scoreless for the second straight game and has been held to two assists over his last four since totaling five goals in back-to-back victories Oct. 22 and 24.
"We've got to make plays and that's the bottom line," Bourque said. "We had a lot of passes that got intercepted. I threw away pucks a few times myself and that eats up a lot of time."
Captain Jarome Iginla assisted on Mark Giordano's goal, but has scored only two goals in his last 23 games dating back to last season.
Leading scorer Brendan Morrison, meanwhile, has cooled off after a fast start, totaling one assist over his last three games.
"We have to regroup. There's no other way we go about it," Morrison told the Flames' official website. "We've now lost three in a row and that's concerning to us. We can't sit here and feel sorry for ourselves. We have to regroup and we've got to get on with it."
Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 31 of 33 shots against the Red Wings - an improvement after he allowed six goals in Saturday's 7-2 loss to Washington - but he hasn't fared well against the Wild recently. Kiprusoff is 0-4-2 in his last six appearances against Minnesota, and the Flames have lost six of seven overall to the Wild.
Minnesota (5-4-2) is coming off a 1-0 win Tuesday against San Jose. Niklas Backstrom made 36 saves for his 20th career shutout and first since March 3, when he blanked Calgary 4-0.
Andrew Brunette scored the lone goal, converting on a power play when Martin Havlat slipped him a pass through the crease. It was the Wild's second power-play goal in their last 20 chances.
"All over the ice, we played a smart game," said Backstrom, who is 4-1-1 while holding his last six opponents to two or fewer goals. "We're playing some good hockey, and we have to keep building like this."
Backstrom is 4-1-0 with two shutouts and a 1.19 goals-against average in his last five decisions against Calgary. That doesn't include his last start against the Flames on April 8, when he left a 2-1 shootout win early in the third period after getting hit in the neck with a David Moss slapshot.
Against the Sharks, Mikko Koivu assisted on Brunette's goal, giving the Minnesota captain a point in his last seven games.The Wild have a void to fill offensively after placing left wing Guillaume Latendresse on the injured list with a groin problem Wednesday. They recalled 6-foot-5 forward Matt Kassian, who has yet to make his NHL debut, from the AHL's Houston Aeros to take the roster spot.