National Hockey League
Wild-Flames Preview
National Hockey League

Wild-Flames Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 6:27 p.m. ET

After winning John Torchetti's debut as interim coach, the Minnesota Wild could be primed to win back-to-back games for the first time in 2016.

The visiting Wild try for a fifth straight victory over a Calgary Flames club which has been extremely generous on the penalty kill of late going into the teams' season series opener Wednesday night.

Two days removed from firing coach Mike Yeo, Minnesota (24-22-10) avoided a franchise-record ninth consecutive loss with Monday's 5-2 win at Vancouver. Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Suter and Erik Haula each had two points for the Wild, who won for the second time in 15 games.

"They'll want to be hungry to come out and prove themselves again," Torchetti told the club's official website. "But we just want them feeling good about themselves, and then we'll make our corrections and adjustments, and keep on improving and getting better."


The club matched its second-highest goal total of the season, scoring more than three for the first time in 17 contests.

Four points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, Minnesota hasn't won consecutive games since Dec. 28 and 31.

''When you take over jobs, there's a reason why,'' said Torchetti, who was promoted from the Wild's AHL affiliate. ''You just have to try and build confidence in the team and pat them on the back here and there ... but also let them know if there's a different play that's an option.

"Play hard, compete for each other."

Devan Dubnyk stopped 24 shots to snap an 0-8-1 skid. He had a 4.07 goals-against average in his previous four starts.

Zach Parise ended an eight-game drought with his team-high 18th goal.

"Just to get started in the right direction, to get rewarded for hard work, all of us, we were excited, we were happy for each other," Parise said.

Parise has keyed the Wild going 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings with Calgary, registering seven goals and three assists.

Minnesota's four-game win streak in the series includes Dubnyk starting the last three while allowing four goals. He's 7-1-2 with a 1.77 GAA in his last 10 starts against the Flames (26-27-3).

While Minnesota's penalty kill has left much to be desired recently - the last five opponents are 7 for 24 on the power play - it hasn't been nearly as bad as Calgary's unit.

The Flames have yielded 15 goals over their last three games, letting each of those opponents record three power-play goals. They let San Jose and Arizona have a combined 16 power plays before allowing Anaheim to convert all three of its chances in Monday's 6-4 home defeat.

"It's really frustrating," center Mikael Backlund told the NHL's official website. "It's tough to have so many penalties the last two games and (Monday) and not be able to kill them."

The Flames now have the NHL's worst penalty-kill percentage at 73.4.

With Karri Ramo (lower body) on injured reserve, Jonas Hiller has started the last two games and yielded four goals in each to give him a 3.22 GAA which is the league's worst among qualifying goaltenders. Recently recalled backup Joni Ortio stopped nine of 11 shots after relieving Hiller in the second period Monday.

Hiller went 0-1-1 in three games against the Wild last season despite a 1.89 GAA.

Calgary has lost seven of 11 at home, even with Johnny Gaudreau having four goals and six assists in his last seven at the Saddledome.


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