|All Sports|||||Scoreboard|||||Stats|||||Standings|||||Teams|||||Players|||||Player News|||||Injuries|||||Transactions|
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- The Minnesota Wild were hoping to join the NHL's elite after two high-profile signings in the offseason, but so far, the club is off to a choppy start that doesn't feature any road victories.
Visiting the short-handed Calgary Flames might help the Wild finally end that drought.
Minnesota will try to take advantage of Miikka Kiprusoff's absence to avoid a fifth consecutive road defeat Monday night.
The Wild's signings of forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter hasn't allowed them to avoid a mediocre performance in the early going. Minnesota (5-5-1) had lost three straight before a 2-1 overtime win over Nashville on Saturday.
Devin Setouguchi scored with 39 seconds left in the extra period to snap a 10-game goal drought.
"This is a clean slate. I don't care what happened the first 10 games or whatever," coach Mike Yeo said. "We're not for making excuses, but at the same time, there was no training camp and there was no exhibition. It takes some guys a little time to get going. That's a real thing. Let's hope this is the point where we start to take off."
Doing so would mean ending a season-opening four-game road skid, the Wild's longest since a team-worst 0-8-0 start away from home in 2009-10. They've scored one goal in each of their last two road games, but might catch a break in this one with Calgary missing its top goaltender.
Kiprusoff, who's posted a 1.77 goals-against average in his last five against Minnesota, is on injured reserve with a sprained MCL. As a result, the Flames (3-4-2) have been forced to turn to the inexperienced Leland Irving in the past two contests.
After earning his second career win in his eighth NHL start Thursday, Irving was in net for a 5-1 defeat to Vancouver two nights later.
"Leland Irving kept us in the game. Without him, it would have been much worse than this," coach Bob Hartley said. "The bottom line is they outworked us. They wanted it more than us.
"We need to show urgency. We're not going to get any gifts from anyone."
Calgary has gone 4-0-1 in its past five versus the Wild and has won back-to-back home matchups - all with Kiprusoff in net. The Flames gave up one goal in each of those two home meetings.
The Flames, though, will be trying to improve their dismal 1-3-1 home record. They've allowed 20 goals in those games.
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla and Curtis Glencross tied for the team lead with six points in last season's series. Calgary won four in a row over Minnesota before the Wild's 3-2 shootout victory March 22.
Minnesota's Dany Heatley, who had three goals and two assists in those six matchups, doesn't have a point in his last six games. Parise has three goals and two assists in four career matchups with Calgary.
The Wild's Niklas Backstrom has posted a 5.39 GAA in his past two starts versus the Flames.
Updated February 10, 2013