Final OT

Series (Game 1 of 6)

Minnesota leads 5-1

Game 1: Friday, December 11th
Game 2: Wednesday, January 6th
Game 3: Wednesday, March 3rd
Game 4: Sunday, March 7th
Game 5: Sunday, March 21st
Game 6: Thursday, April 8th

Wild 2

(15-13-3, 33 pts)

Flames 1

(19-8-4, 42 pts)

9:00 PM ET, December 11, 2009

Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

1 2 3 OT T
MIN 0 0 1 12
CGY 0 0 1 01

M. Kiprusoff (Flames - G): Saves: 44, Save Pct.: .957

N. Backstrom (Wild - G): Saves: 22, Save Pct.: .957

M. Havlat (Wild - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

Wild-Flames Preview


The Calgary Flames are atop the Northwest Division despite not having been dominant on home ice.

When given a chance to host the Minnesota Wild over the years, they've been practically flawless.

Miikka Kiprusoff and the Flames have turned up their defense lately, and they'll have a good chance to stay sharp Friday night as they look for their 15th win in 16 visits from the suddenly surging Wild.

Calgary (19-8-3) is a point up on Colorado in the Northwest largely thanks to an 11-3-3 road record, a stunning reversal after finishing 19-20-2 away from the Pengrowth Saddledome in 2008-09.

The Flames were 27-10-4 at home last season, however, yet they were just 7-5-0 there heading into Wednesday's game against Atlanta.

Jarome Iginla assisted on both of Calgary's second-period goals, and Kiprusoff continued his recent stellar play. The NHL's win leader with 45 in 2008-09, Kiprusoff picked up his 17th this season by making 24 stops in the 3-1 win.

Kiprusoff is 6-2-1 with a 1.22 goals-against average over his last nine games.

"He's probably been playing his best hockey in the last month and a half than maybe I've ever seen him play," defenseman Robyn Regehr said.

Kiprusoff's been better when facing the Wild over the years than he has against anyone else. The 2006 Vezina Trophy winner is 24-7-2 with a tie and a 1.86 GAA in 34 career starts versus Minnesota.

He's also been in net for each of Calgary's 14 wins in 15 games against the Wild (14-13-3) since the end of the 2004-05 lockout, posting a 1.73 GAA and two shutouts.

The Flames have yet to face their division rivals this season, and though Minnesota is stuck in last place, it is also 7-1-1 over its past nine games. That's enough for winger Curtis Glencross and his teammates to avoid taking the Wild lightly.

"They've been good the last ten games or so," Glencross told the Flames' official Web site. "We haven't really seen too much of them yet so we'll do our homework on them (Friday) morning when we do our video and we'll go from there."

Minnesota's lone regulation loss since Nov. 18 was a 2-0 road defeat Monday against Phoenix, and it didn't get much more offense Wednesday at Colorado. But Antti Miettinen's first-period goal was enough to give the Wild a 1-0 win.

"The offense is there but we can't rely on scoring four goals every night," said Niklas Backstrom, who made 22 saves to earn his 18th shutout and first this season. "Sometimes you have to find a way to win and battle through the defense."

Miettinen, who didn't score more than 15 goals in his first five NHL seasons, has suddenly turned into the Wild's go-to scorer. Playing on a top line with captain Mikko Koivu and Andrew Brunette, Miettinen, who missed three games late last month with swine flu, has seven goals in his last eight games.

Miettinen has one goal in 18 career games versus Calgary, and the Wild have struggled in general to score lately in the series -- a large reason Backstrom is 5-6-4 in his last 18 games against the Flames despite a 2.21 GAA.