Flames aim to solve woes against Wild

The Flames extended one series winning streak over the weekend to get back to .500. Their recent history versus the Wild seems to hint that getting over the even mark may prove to be more difficult.

Calgary tries to avoid an 11th loss in its last 14 games versus Minnesota in tonight's matchup at the Saddledome.

The Flames went 2-1-0 on their recent road trip after beating the Avalanche for a seventh time in a row on Sunday. Curtis Glencross netted the game-winner in the second period of a 2-1 triumph, with Alex Tanguay's pass hitting off his arm and in.

"Tangs tried to actually pass it to me and it kind of bounced up and hit me in the arm and it went in, so it was kind of nice," said Glencross. "I kind of just tried to tuck it and cradle it ... and it kind of ricocheted in. I'll take it."

Mark Giordano also scored and Miikka Kiprusoff made 32 saves for the Flames, who are 3-1-0 against their division this year. The record is one of the best among Northwest Division opponents, right behind the Wild's mark of 3-0-1 in division play.

Minnesota could better that record tonight given its current success versus Calgary. The Wild are 10-2-1 in the past 13 meetings in this series, taking five of the past six in Calgary.

The Flames will square off against Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who makes his first start since a loss to the Ducks on Oct. 27. He is 3-3-2 with a 2.30 goals-against average in eight games this year, but it was Josh Harding who started each game of Minnesota's current four-game win streak.

Head coach Mike Yeo will go with Backstrom regardless to keep the rust off him. The Finn has started at least 50 games in each of the past four seasons.

"We can't forget what he's done for us. There was a couple games there I don't think we get points unless he plays as well as he did," Yeo said on Monday. "He's a very important part of our group and I'm anxious to see how he goes out and plays [Tuesday]. It's real important for us to make sure we don't push him to the back burner."

Harding made 30 saves in Saturday's 2-1 win over the Blues and was named the NHL's First Star for the week on Monday. He went 3-0 with a 0.99 GAA in wins over Detroit, Vancouver and St. Louis last weekend as he continues to bounce back after missing all of last year due to injury.

Harding tore the ACL and MCL in his knee, but is 4-0-1 with a 1.18 GAA and .965 save percentage this year.

"It is an individual award, but it's not," said Harding. "The team's played so good in front of me."

Guillaume Latendresse and Dany Heatley scored on Saturday for the Wild, who are trying to win five straight for the first time since Nov. 27-Dec. 5, 2009.

Minnesota begins a five-game road trip this evening and could be without Cal Clutterbuck, who did not practice on Monday for unknown reasons. The forward did travel with the team.