The Minnesota Wild are on a four-game winning streak.
The Calgary Flames have won three of their last four games.
The Wild were shut out 4-0 by the Wild in their first meeting.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
13-9-2 (3rd in Central Division)
12-10-3 (5th in Pacific Division)
Kirill Kaprizov (32)
Nazem Kadri (19)
Kirill Kaprizov (16)
Elias Lindholm (9)
Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello (16)
Rasmus Andersson (14)
Jared Spurgeon (12)
Nikita Zadorov (9)
Kirill Kaprizov (4.25)
Shots (Per Game)
Nazem Kadri, Tyler Toffoli (3.08)
The Minnesota Wild will cross the Canadian border and face the Calgary Flames. The Wild are in third place in the Central Division and will hold onto their spot with a victory. The Flames, on the other hand, are sitting two spots away from a Wild Card spot but would inch closer with a victory.
The Wild are the better of these two teams, but not by much. They have a stronger offense than the Flames and a similarly good defense but worse goaltenders.
The Wild have a bonafide star in Kiril Kaprisov. Kaprizov plays over 21 minutes a game and has 16 points and 16 assists. The Russian native is always dangerous and a threat to score. Kaprisov spends much of his time on the ice with Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello is not as good as Kaprisov, but an impressive second option. The winger has eight goals and 16 assists and is especially productive on the power play. I could talk about a few other players, but these two lead the way for Minnesota.
Minnesota has a questionable goaltending situation. Veteran Marc-Andre Fleury is the #1 but playing like the #2. Fleury allows more than three goals a game and may lose his spot if he continues performing at this level.
The Flames may be out of the playoff picture, but they have a solid squad. They are without any stars but have a decent offense and defense and better goaltenders than the Wild.
The Flames do not have any stars on their team, but they have some players that were once heavyweights in the NHL. Nazem Kadri, Elias Lindholm, and Tyler Toffoli are the former stars. All three players have had better seasons, but they are still playing well. They each have at least eight goals and ten assists. Calgary may need one of these players to step up and stand out from the pack to help them make a run.
Jacob Markstrom is the starting goaltender for the Flames, but Dan Vladar is outperforming him. Markstrom allows almost three goals a game, but Vladar allows a little over 2.5. The Flames may start giving Vladar more opportunities if this trend continues. Either way, these two make for a mediocre goaltending duo.
The Wild are the hotter team and perform better on the road, so they will steal this game in Calgary.
The Wild are playing excellent hockey but will only win if they score first and pass the puck to Kirill Kaprizov.
The Wild have scored first in three of their wins. When Minnesota scores first, they are not guaranteed to win, but it dramatically improves their chances. It goes without saying that Minnesota must strike first again today. They are playing on the road but can make the game more even by taking a 1-0 lead.
The Minnesota offense is centered around Kirill Kaprizov. The 25-year-old winger leads his team in most major offensive statistical categories, so his teammates need to give him the puck as much as possible. If they do, Kaprisov will either score or help them score.
The Flames are the inferior team but can win if they avoid committing penalties and have a strong game in the net.
The Flames do not have an impressive power-play unit, but the Wild have a solid one. Minnesota converts on over 25% of their power play opportunities and over 26% of their goals have come with a man advantage. Calgary cannot give Minnesota those chances and has to avoid committing penalties.
Neither of Calgary’s netminders stand out. However, they will have to bring their A-game today as they face one of the NHL’s best offenses. Calgary’s success in this game will be largely predicated on the goaltender’s dominance (or lack of dominance).
Jared Spurgeon is a vital player on this Wild squad. The veteran defenseman plays almost 21 minutes a game and has two goals and eight assists. More importantly, he leads his team with a +/- of 12.
It may not look like it, but Spurgeon is incredibly productive on the ice and helps his team a lot. He needs to continue his high level of play today and help his team to victory.
Nazem Kadri is a veteran leader on this Flames squad. The London, Ontario native may be 32 years old, but he is still playing quite well and is one of the top scorers on his team.
Kadri has the ability to be a top-ten player, but this season, his overall impact has been questionable. He is tied (with Milan Lucic) for the worst +/- (-5) on the Flames. Kadri must turn a corner and become a more productive player in every facet of the game.
What - Minnesota Wild vs Calgary Flames
Where - Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
When - Wednesday, December 7, 8:00 PM EST
How to Watch - ESPN+, Hulu
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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