NHL Hockey

Red-hot Flames aim to keep momentum going vs. Wild

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

While the Calgary Flames' high-octane offense has sped up their ascent in the Western Conference, a stingy defense has made the team's recent opponents run out of gas.

The red-hot Flames have yielded just one goal in four straight outings and 12 overall during their season-high seven-game winning streak.

Calgary looks to continue its strong play on Saturday when it opens a two-game homestand against the Minnesota Wild, who have won four in a row in their own right.

"Great to get six points on this trip. We're in a good spot," Flames captain Mark Giordano said on the heels of capping a perfect three-game trek with Wednesday's 2-1 victory over New Jersey.

"Anytime you give up only one goal in (four) straight, you're going to win games."

Receiving offensive contributions from defensemen also helps, as Giordano's second-period tally proved to be the game-winning goal against the Devils. It also accounted for Giordano's 60th point of the season, making him the fourth defenseman in NHL history 35 years or older to reach that plateau -- joining seven-time Norris Trophy recipient Nicklas Lidstrom, Al MacInnis and Sergei Zubov.

Giordano set up both of Elias Lindholm's goals in a 2-0 victory over Minnesota on Dec. 6 and scored nine days later in a 2-1 win over the Wild.

"He's a high-end player, high-end character, and he's just a warrior," Calgary coach Bill Peters said of the 35-year-old Giordano. "We're battling there, and he's battling on pucks. Just a complete player. He's a guy our young players should watch and learn from because it's special the way he goes about his business."

Peters' assessment of Giordano could also apply to Flames legend Jarome Iginla, who will see his signature No. 12 jersey raised to the rafters at Scotiabank Saddledome.

"I'm going to try and relax, enjoy it," Iginla said of Saturday's ceremony. "Only happens once. So, it's not really something you can prepare for. I've been so busy with what I'm going to say, planning for people coming in, that I really haven't had time to think about how I'll feel."

Minnesota has been feeling better after posting four straight victories on the heels of a disastrous 1-6-3 run.

The Wild's winning streak began with the arrival of Ryan Donato, who was acquired from Boston on Feb. 20. Donato notched a pair of assists in Tuesday's 3-2 victory versus Winnipeg to give him six points (one goal, five assists) with his new team.

Donato's four-game point streak to start his Minnesota career is the third-longest such run in franchise history, trailing Pavol Demitra (six games, 2006-07) and Zach Parise (five games, 2012-13).

Speaking of Parise (one goal, four assists), he joins Eric Staal (one goal, five assists) with four-game point streaks heading into Saturday's tilt. Parise has fared well versus Calgary, recording 21 points (13 goals, eight assists) in 23 career encounters.

"I like the way we've been playing recently, so it's going to be a great challenge," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said on Friday of facing the West-best Flames.

Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who has permitted six goals during his four-start winning streak, turned aside 24 shots in the latter meeting with Calgary to fall to 11-8-4 in his career versus the club.

Flames goaltender Mike Smith turned aside all 31 shots in the first encounter with the Wild before David Rittich made 34 saves in the rematch.

--Field Level Media

Updated March 2, 2019

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