Game #69: Minnesota Wild vs Calgary Flames, Sunday March 11, 2012 at 5:00pm (CST), Xcel Energy Center [GAME PREVIEW]

Record Pts Div. Rank G/G GA/G PP% PK%
Minnesota Wild (29-29-10) 68 4th Northwest 2.06 (30) 2.66 (14) 14.8% (28)

82.6% (13)

Calgary Flames
(31-25-12) 74 3rd Northwest 2.44 (23) 2.66 (15) 18.2% (12) 82.8% (11)

 

Minnesota Wild
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #15 Dany Heatley 20 26 46
2. #9 Mikko Koivu 10 27 37
3. #7 Matt Cullen 14 20 34
4. #21 Kyle Brodziak 17 16 33
5. #10 Devin Setoguchi 17 13 30
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #22 Cal Clutterbuck 95
2. #21 Kyle Brodziak 62
3. #43 Warren Peters 50
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #32 Niklas Backstrom (17-17-6) 2.44 .920
2. #37 Josh Harding (9-10-4) 2.79 .913
3. #31 Matt Hackett (3-2-0) 1.89 .943
Calgary Flames
Top 5 Scorers: G A Pts
1. #12 Jarome Iginla 28 29 57
2. #13 Olli Jokinen 20 37 57
3. #40 Alex Tanguay 11 34 45
4. #20 Curtis Glencross 24 17 41
5. #93 Mike Cammalleri 15 18 33
Top 3 Penalty Minutes: PIM
1. #15 Tim Jackman 88
2. #6 Cory Sarich 56
3. #16 Tom Kostopoulos 55
 
Goaltenders: GAA SV%
1. #34 Miikka Kirprusoff (30-19-8) 2.38 .921
2. #37 Leland Irving (1-2-3) 3.22 .916
2. #35 Henrik Karlsson (0-4-1) 3.45 .894
. .

 
How do you know when things are bad or essentially over in a sports season?  When you have 13 games left in an 82-game season and it feels like you have absolutely nothing to say.  Had things gone better since the calendar read 2012, we’d be talking about the jockeying for a prime playoff position.  Instead we’ll be lucky if we can jockey for a prime entry draft position.  With the poor play lately, fans have their fingers crossed that at the very least we can get in position for a chance at the draft lottery.  However, just when those fans think the Wild are headed in the correct downward spiral, then they pull off the improbably shootout win in Phoenix.

To date, forty-four players have put on a Wild sweater.  It almost became forty-five in Phoenix, however Tyler Cuma missed his flight to Phoenix due to the fact that he landed in Houston from Abbotsford, British Columbia with just about an hour to collect his gear from baggage claim and make it to another terminal.  Needless to say that didn’t happen.  Number forty-five could happen tonight in St. Paul, although the chances of that unknown man actually playing is slim to none.  It has been announced that Matt Hackett will start in goal tonight.  However, who will serve as his backup is unclear at this time.  Depending on how Josh Harding feels, he will serve as backup.  If he can’t play, it seems that head coach Mike Yeo has two other plans in place.  One could involve Matt Lundin who is the brother of injured Wild defenseman Mike Lundin.  Matt Lundin is a goaltender, and served as the second goaltender at yesterday’s practice.  Unfortunately the Wild’s backup to the backup, otherwise known as Justin Falk, is injured, so he’s not in the picture.  So the question becomes, will they sign the 51-year old Paul Deutsch to another one-day contract to serve as backup.  Beyond that, all that’s really left is to say press goaltending coach, Bob Mason into duty.  I guess this is the other way we know things are bad; when we don’t know who will sit as backup.  In the meantime, the Wild are being extremely closed lipped about who the other two backup options are.

Personally, I kind of hope Harding isn’t good enough to sit on the bench tonight.  Call me sadistic, but it would be amusing just to see how deep Minnesota must dig.  While it’s been stressful, I’ve enjoyed seeing young players called up this season, especially when they perform well.  When things were going well, with all those prospects and minor-leaguers pitching in, it was exciting.  Now when things haven’t been going so well, the new faces can bring an element of interest to the game to an otherwise uninteresting game.  Plus, just think how much more interesting things would get if Harding isn’t on the bench and for whatever reason Hackett doesn’t finish the game.  Now that my friends, is pure evil at its best.

Injury Report:

Minnesota:  Mikko Koivu (shoulder), Mike Lundin (lower body), Carson McMillan (lower body), Clayton Stoner (hip, questionable), Guillaume Latendresse (concussion), Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion, groin),  Kurtis Foster (back, doubtful)  , Cal Clutterbuck (illness, doubtful), Josh Harding (lower body, questionable)    

Calgary
Lee Stempniak (ankle), Blair Jones (ankle), Mikael Backlund (arm), Chris Butler (thigh), Tim Jackman (upper body, questionable), Mike Cammalleri (upper body, questionable), Lance Bouma (upper body, questionable), Blake Comeau (shoulder, questionable)       

Jack Jablonski  Jenna Privette

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