The Wild Beat
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Wild backup Alex Stalock has been mostly handling the second half of back-to-backs this season, but Thursday he’ll get a look in the first test of two straight when he takes on the Flames in Calgary for the 100th game of his career.

“Every game’s tough,” Stalock said. “It doesn’t really matter at this point I don’t think.”

This is the second stop on a three-game tour of Western Canada for the Wild that started Tuesday with a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks – a steady showing for the Wild’s special teams, as both units were a perfect 3-for-3.

“I just thought the effort was there,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “They were pretty determined when they had the lead going into the third, that they weren’t going to give up the lead this time. So you bottle that up hopefully and hopefully it’s in the same situation tonight, and you can handle it and just snowball into something good.”

Calgary is coming off an eye-popping 9-6 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday that included five second-period goals by the Flames.

Taming that offense will be key for the Wild, and the best way to do that is to limit the Flames’ zone-time in the Wild’s end.

“When we’re playing fast, we’re making simple, two-foot passes,” Stalock said. “We look fast because we’re getting out of our zone in a hurry. Just get out of our zone in a hurry. No one wants to be there anyways. As long as we make those quick plays to get out of our zone, I think that’s when you see this team play well and on the same page.”

Projected lineup:

Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Charlie Coyle

Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Mikael Granlund

Jordan Greenway-Joel Eriksson Ek-Nino Niederreiter

Marcus Foligno-Eric Fehr-J.T. Brown

Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon

Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba

Nick Seeler-Greg Pateryn

Alex Stalock

Key numbers:

11: Power-play goals for the Wild on the road.

5: Points for winger Mikael Granlund in his past three games.

4: Goals for center Eric Staal in the last six games.

8-3-2: Home record for the Flames.

22: Points for Calgary winger Matthew Tkachuk on home ice.

About the Flames:

The Flames are pacing the Pacific Division with 17 wins and 36 points. They’ve won three in a row and are 4-0-1 in their last five games. Calgary is the only team in the NHL to have four players boast at least 30 points. Winger Johnny Gaudreau has a team-high 35, while center Sean Monahan has 33. Monahan’s 17 goals are also most on the Flames.