The Wild won six out of eight games to begin the month of November, but they have lost five out of six since then and enter tonight on a three-game losing streak.
Minnesota and the Flames split two meetings this year with each team winning a game on home ice. Calgary earned a 3-0 triumph over the Wild this past Monday at the Saddledome. Miikka Kiprusoff made 32 saves to record his third shutout of the season and Jay Bouwmeester and Jarome Iginla scored 18 seconds apart in the second period for the Flames.
The Wild had a three-game series’ winning streak snapped in Monday’s game, but they still have seven victories in the last nine meetings between the clubs. Calgary has lost two straight and four of its last five tests in St. Paul.
Minnesota has been outscored 14-6 during its current three-game slide and was dealt a 4-2 setback by the visiting Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday. The Wild fell behind 1-0 late in the first period and Phoenix held a lead the rest of the way.
Matt Cullen and Mikko Koivu scored third-period goals for Minnesota.
“We did a lot of good things,” Cullen said. “Obviously, we need to find ways to win these games.”
Jose Theodore stopped 32 shots in defeat, dropping him to 3-4-0 on the season. It was the second straight start for Theodore since Niklas Backstrom yielded seven goals last Saturday against Colorado. Backstrom, who is 9-7-4 in his career against Calgary, could get the start tonight for the Wild.
The Wild have lost three of their last four home games and are 7-6-1 in St. Paul this season. Following tonight’s test, Minnesota will head out on a four- game road trip, beginning with tomorrow evening’s test in Dallas.
The Flames, who are two points behind Minnesota for third place in the Northwest, had won two of three games before getting slammed, 7-2, by Vancouver on Wednesday. It was the fifth loss in seven games (2-3-2) for Calgary.
Mason Raymond recorded his second career hat trick and added an assist to lead the visiting Canucks to the blowout victory at the Saddledome. Calgary trailed 3-2 after two periods, but Raymond scored twice during a four-goal outburst for Vancouver in the third.
“What stings the most is the way we handled our third period,” said Calgary head coach Brent Sutter.
Alex Tanguay and Tim Jackman scored for Calgary, while Miikka Kiprusoff surrendered all seven goals on 36 shots.
The Flames are playing the first of two straight on the road tonight and Calgary will be the guest in four of its next five contests. Sutter’s club has lost six of its last seven away from the Saddledome and is just 4-7-2 as the visiting club this year.