SUN Hockey Pool

Flames look to Minn-imize chances

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

It could get Wild in front of the Flames net tonight.

However, it won't be because of the way the last game between Minnesota and the Calgary finished.

The Dion Phaneuf slapshot that drilled Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom in the shoulder before Jarome Iginla scored the shootout winner was played up in print and on the airwaves. It even got a mention on Coach's Corner.

However, two of the guys responsible for clearing the front of the net say it was no big deal.

"Goalies have lots of padding," said Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr, grinning and nodding toward the equipment in the stalls of Miikka Kiprusoff and Curtis Joseph. "Look at those.

"I think it was probably a light night (on Hockey Night in Canada) and they didn't have anything else to talk about.

"Let's face it, it was a great save. (Backstrom) made a good save. It was going top corner. I don't see the big deal whatsoever."

Regehr's partner on the blueline also figures the way the Flames finished off the 3-2 win in St. Paul Wednesday won't be the main source of motivation for the Wild in tonight's rematch (7 p.m., Sportsnet).

"If Dion hits the corner, the puck goes in and no one says a thing about it," said Sarich, noting the shootout slapshot was practically invented by Wild winger Brian Rolston.

Rolston missed his slapshot attempt wide right following Phaneuf's turn in the shootout.

"I'm sure Rolston, the amount of times he's done it, he's probably drilled a couple of goalies," said Sarich.

"You miss the other way and hit the end boards and no one thinks anything about it. A guy taking a slapshot coming in full throttle, it doesn't always go where you want it."

All that said, the duo responsible for shutting down Marian Gaborik and the top trio expect a lot traffic in front of Kiprusoff.

One of the Wild goals came courtesy of some interference from Branko Radivojevic, and there were some nasty blows exchanged around the crease in the precursor.

"The game plan I'm sure of almost any team that comes in here and wants to beat us is to get guys to the front of the net," said Regehr. "It'll be a good challenge for us as defencemen."

Even Gaborik's line, known for speed rather than size, is good at getting in front on the rush.

"That's what makes them tough," said Regehr.

"They might not be quite as aggressive as some of those other lines, but you've still got to honour that speed and watch it."\


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