|Date of game: 3/27/2015
Calgary Flames (40-27-7) at Minnesota Wild (42-25-7), 8 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Calgary Flames have gained points lately, but wins have been a little harder to come by.
The Flames hope to reverse that trend on Friday when the visit the Minnesota Wild, a team that has been piling up victories at a furious pace since the end of January.
Friday's matchup pits a pair of playoff hopefuls from the Western Conference, although Minnesota's postseason hopes are a little brighter at the moment.
The Wild, winners of three straight, own a 22-5-1 record over their last 28 trips to the ice. The second-half surge has Minnesota holding the first of two wild card spots with 91 points, leaving them one point ahead of the Winnipeg Jets and four ahead of the Los Angeles Kings, who currently lead Calgary by one point for third automatic bid from the Pacific Division. Winnipeg also leads Calgary by three points for the West's last wild card spot.
Minnesota also is only three points in back of Chicago for the third automatic bid from the Central Division. The Blackhawks do hold a game in hand over the Wild and are hosting Columbus on Friday.
The Flames, meanwhile, are just outside the playoff picture after Los Angeles won its third straight game with Thursday's triumph over the New York Islanders. Both Calgary and L.A. have eight games remaining and the Flames are hoping to leap over the idle Kings with a win tonight.
Calgary only has two victories over its last six outings, but has gained at least a point in four straight, logging a 2-0-2 mark during that stretch.
The Flames had to rally to keep the point streak alive the last time out, as it overcame a 3-2 deficit after 40 minutes to send the game to overtime before losing in a shootout to visiting Dallas.
Calgary was down 2-0 in the second period before tying the game, but the Stars carried a one-goal cushion into the third. Deryk Engelland evened the tilt at 3-3 with 8:41 remaining in regulation, scoring his second goal of the game. It was the first two-goal game of the 32-year-old defenseman's career.
However, that would be the last time the Flames would get one past Kari Lehtonen. After a scoreless extra period, Tyler Seguin would be the lone scorer in the shootout phase.
Johnny Gaudreau potted the other goal for the Flames, giving the rookie sensation 21 markers on the season. Karri Ramo stopped 27 shots in defeat, but couldn't get to Seguin's chance which ended the first round of the game's final segment.
"Early on we had no energy," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "It's a huge point but at this time we're shooting for two."
Hartley will hope his club has better luck finding wins on the road, as Calgary begins a five-game swing tonight. The Flames have lost their last two as the guest, but own a respectable 19-14-2 mark away from home this season.
The Wild also went to a shootout the last time out and Zach Parise provided the difference in the 2-1 decision over the Islanders.
Parise scored for Minnesota in regulation when he tied the tilt at 1-1 with 8:15 left in the third period. He later beat Jaroslav Halak in the first shootout attempt for the Wild, ringing a shot off the left post before the puck hit Halak in the back and slipped into the goal.
Devan Dubnyk then stopped Kyle Okposo and John Tavares as the Wild ran their road-winning streak to 10 straight games.
"It's great to get these road wins because they're huge when you get in the playoffs," said Dubnyk. "If we can keep finding ways to win these games when the playoffs start it will be really big for us."
Dubnyk finished with 37 stops for the Wild, who will try to carry their winning ways back home. They kick off a five-game stay at Xcel Energy Center tonight and own a 20-11-5 mark as the host this season.
Minnesota has handled the Flames in recent seasons and enters Friday with a three-game winning streak in the matchup. The Wild are 4-0-1 over the past five encounters and have eight victories in the last 11 meetings.
Calgary has lost four of five in St. Paul.
Ramo will get the call in net for the Flames, while Dubnyk is likely in line for a 34th straight start between the pipes.