Minnesota Wild News: Wild Look to Reassert Home Ice Dominance


The Minnesota Wild host the Calgary Flames tonight for the Wild’s first game of a five game home stand.  After this weekend’s Friday/Saturday back-to-back with Calgary and Los Angeles the Wild have a four day break before playing the Rangers, Red Wings and Winnipeg next Thursday, Saturday, Monday. The upcoming home stand is huge for the wild with three of the five games coming against three teams fighting Minnesota for a play-off spot.

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The Wild (on a three game win streak) are firmly holding onto the top wild card sport in the Western Conference with 91 points. Calgary was usurped last night by the Kings win over the Islanders, and the Flames are now on the outside looking in after going 2-2-2 in their last six games.

With only eight games remaining, the Western Conference is tight. Minnesota, Vancouver, Calgary, Los Angeles, and Winnipeg are all within four points of one another as they jockey for the final play-off spots. Remember, each division is guaranteed three spots. So even though two of the Pacific Division’s play-off spots have lower point totals than Minnesota, they have higher seeds. Watch NHL’s explanation for a reminder of the new (2014) play-off qualification system.

Mikael Granlund’s  two years younger brother Markus Granlund is the third line center for the flames, so look for a little brotherly rivalry today in the face-off circle. Markus Granlund has five goals and ten assists in 41 games played with the Flames this year, while his older brother has 7 goals and 26 assists in 60 games with the Wild.

Kyle Brodziak, Ryan CarterJason Zucker, and Nate Prosser continue to nurse injuries according to Rachel Blount of the Star Tribune. With Brodziak still out after his injury on Monday, Jordan Schroeder will make his second start since being a healthy scratch for eight games following the Sean Bergenheim trade. Schroeder brought a ton of energy in the Islanders game on Tuesday when the rest of the team was playing their second game of a back-to-back. Look for Schroeder to have an impact tonight as his speed will likely get him some chances, and his game readiness should be even better after Tuesday’s win.

Devan Dubnyk will make his 34th consecutive start tonight (33rd for the Wild) as the NHL community continues to marvel at his impact here in Minnesota. The “DOOOOB” chants continue to grow louder at Xcel Energy Center as the hot goaltender remains focused and calmly backs the Wild. Check out Dubnyk’s numbers put together by Michael Rand of the Star Tribune.

Minnesota lines:







Calgary lines:








John Gaudreau aka “Johnny Hockey” and Jiri Hudler are the leading scorers for the Flames and Gaudreau leads all NHL rookies in scoring. Mark Giordano is out with a torn biceps, and leaves a huge hole in the defense since he led the team in over 25 minutes per game. According to the Calgary Herald Giordano could be out for the rest of the year, and along with his time on ice the team misses his leadership in the locker room.

Tonight’s game will definitely be a play-off type atmosphere with both teams looking to secure their spot in the post-season. Calgary has seen the Kings take their spot in the last 24 hours, and therefore will be hungry. Look for the Wild to play a structured game and take advantage of a pressuring Calgary team who likes to use their defense to jump up in the rush. The Wild should be able to counter and get a few clean break away chances. Here we go Wild fans. eight games remaining. I can’t imagine a more exciting finish to the regular season.