Game Preview: Flames vs Colorado Avalanche

CALGARY FLAMES (35-28-15 85 points) vs. COLORADO AVALANCHE (40-33-6 86 points) GAME 79

 

PREVIEW:

The two fading teams in the West face-off tonight as the Flames host the Colorado Avalanche in their sixth and final meeting of the season. Once both in the heat of the battle for the 8th and final playoff spot, both teams have lost their games in recent stretches are now running out of chances to make up any ground. The Flames after another lackluster performance on Wednesday against the Kings have gone 1-3-3 in their last seven, while the Aves, who also only have 3 games remaining, have gone 0-3-1 in their last four games. This will be the sixth and final meeting between the clubs as Colorado has just one win against the Flames this year, coming in their last meeting, a 2-1 OT victory on Mar. 20th.

To say I had my hopes up heading into Wednesdays game against the Kings would be a lie but to go out and watch a performance like that was disgusting. Take nothing away from the Los Angeles Kings, they played a great road game, they dominated in every aspect and played the way a team should play scratching and clawing for a playoff spot, but for the Flames to have 4 SHOTS in the third period is embarrassing. Once again the Flames top players were invisible as their top five scorers (Iginla, Jokinen, Tanguay, Glencross and Cammalleri) had a combined plus/minus rating of minus 9. After their big win against the Stars, I just don’t understand how the team could head into the game against the Kings, use none of the momentum they created for themselves and show absolutely no emotion in another game they had to win.

The Avalanche are young and boy do they have a bright future. Even with their recent 0-3-1 stretch, which has pretty much diminished their playoff hopes, the Aves have continued to put in a solid effort night in and night out. In their 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, they Aves didn’t go down easily, outshooting the Canucks, 43-22 but couldn’t beat Cory Schneider.

Listening to the morning show on the Fan 960 yesterday, Andrew Walker had Elliotte Friedman from Hockey Night in Canada on and Elliotte brought up an interesting point when it came to the Aves. He said with their recent extension to both HC Joe Sacco and GM Greg Sherman, it will be interesting to see what they do with Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene. Sacco doesn’t play the duo a whole lot, which has raised questions how much he, likes the players. It’s something to keep an eye on heading into this summer as Duchene is an RFA and Stastny already has a big contract.

Neither team can afford any more losses so tonight’s game should be another playoff battle, at least in Colorado’s case (who knows which team will show up for the Flames). Other than their most recent loss on Mar. 20th to the Aves, the Flames have dominated Colorado the last couple of seasons, winning four straight at the Dome and 11 of the last 13 overall. Goal scoring has been an issue for both teams during their recent struggles, the Aves have scored two or fewer goals in five straight, while the Flames have tallied two or fewer in their last six of seven. Saying that, it would probably be smart to pick a tie if you’re a betting man as it would be no surprise to see this one head to a shootout. A victory is the only thing that matters for both teams tonight. As a Flames fan, I’m just looking for a better effort, a win isn’t going to mean anything at this point as they simply don’t deserve to make the playoffs.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Avalanche:

1- TANGUAY-CAMMALLERI-IGINLA                           1- LANDESKOG-O’REILLY-DOWNIE

2- GLENCROSS-JOKINEN-MOSS                              2- McGINN-STASTNY-JONES

3- COMEAU-STAJAN-STEMPNIAK                             3- MUELLER-DUCHENE-HEDJUK

4- KOSTOPOULOS-JONES-JACKMAN                       4- McLEOD-McCLEMENT-OLVER

 

1- BOUWMEESTER-BUTLER                                      1- JOHNSON-HUNWICK

2- GIORDANO-HANNAN                                              2- HEJDA-O’BRYNE

3- BABCHUK-SARICH                                                  3- WILSON-O’BRIEN

 

1- KIPRUSOFF                                                              1- VARLAMOV

2- KARLSSON                                                               2- GIGUERE

 

EXTRA- BOUMA                                                           EXTRA- BARRIE, ELLIOTT, KOBASEW

 

INJURIES:

Flames: D- Derek Smith (Upper Body- Day-to-Day), D- T.J Brodie (Upper Body- Day-to-Day), C- Mikael Backlund (Upper Body- IR)

Avalanche: NONE

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

J. Iginla                     

78

31

33

64

-6

O. Jokinen

78

22

37

59

-9

A. Tanguay

62

13

36

49

8

C Glencross

63

25

21

46

-9

M. Cammalleri

62

17

20

37

-12

 

Avalanche

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

R. O’Reilly

78

18

37

55

2

P. Stastny

76

20

31

51

-8

G. Landeskog

79

22

27

49

20

S. Downie

73

14

27

41

-6

J. McGinn

76

20

16

36

-1

 

PP-

Flames: 17.8% (13th)

Avalanche: 18.3% (11th)

PK-

Flames: 83.9% (9th)

Avalanche: 83.3% (12th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

1. X- ST. LOUIS

78

48

20

10

106

2. Y- VANCOUVER

77

47

21

9

103

3. DALLAS

77

42

30

5

89

4. X- DETROIT

77

46

26

5

97

5. X- NASHVILLE

77

44

25

8

96

6. CHICAGO

78

43

26

9

95

7. PHOENIX

78

38

27

13

89

8. LOS ANGELES

77

38

27

12

88

 

9. SAN JOSE

78

39

29

10

88

10. COLORADO

79

40

33

6

86

11. CALGARY

78

35

28

15

85

12. ANAHEIM

77

33

33

11

77

13. MINNESOTA

77

32

35

10

74

14. EDMONTON

77

31

37

9

71

15. COLUMBUS

77

25

45

7

57

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Last ten games: Flames 4-3-3, Avalanche 5-3-2
  • Miikka Kiprusoff even after a couple shaky goals in the last couple of games has continued to carry the team on his back with a 2.06 GAA in his last eight starts
  • Kiprusoff is also 10-0-1 with a 1.74 GAA in his last 11 starts against the Avalanche.
  • The Flames top players have been their top players against the Avalanche during their stretch of dominance. Lee Stempniak has 13 points in his last 11 matchups (PHO & CGY), Jarome Iginla (6g, 4a) and Curtis Glencross (7g, 3a) each have ten points in their last nine games while the former Ave, Alex Tanguay (3g, 7a) has ten points in his last 11 games against Colorado.
  • The Flames announced yesterday that they have become majority owners of the Calgary Stampeders, giving them ownership of Calgary’s four major sporting teams (Flames, Hitmen, Roughnecks and Stamps).
  • The Flames also announced the signing of University of Minnesota-Duluth and Calgary product, Brady Lamb to a one year, two-way contract. Lamb is 6’1”, 215 lbs. and just concluded his senior year with the Bulldogs, putting up nine goals and 31 points to go along with 51 PIMS in 41 games this season.
  • Avalanche starter, Semyon Varlamov is 1-3-0 with a 2.36 GAA in four career starts against the Flames.
  • The Aves will wrap up their three-game road trip and road schedule tonight at the Dome. The Aves will finish off the season with their last two games at home.
  • Colorado is the youngest team in the NHL with an average age of 26 years, 61 days.
  • Gabriel Landeskog has been everything the Aves hoped for as he continues to make a push for the Calder. Landeskog leads all rookies in points (49), goals (22), shots (262), takeaways (56) and GWG’s (5-tied). His 22 goals and plus/minus rating of +20 also leads the Aves.
  • Landeskog is also only the second rookie (Dion Phaneuf, Flames 2005-06) to surpass the 20 goals and 200 hits in a season.
  • Both teams are represented well at the NCAA’s Frozen Four next weekend. The Flames have prospects John Gaudreau and Bill Arnold, while the Aves have goaltender Kent Patterson and forwards Nate Condon and Paul Carey.

 

GAME DAY QUOTE:

"We've failed to come up with wins at key times and all we can do is look ahead to the Colorado game… You have to cling to any glimmer of hope right now. We can control what we can control and try to pick up as many points as we can. Hopefully, we can get some help from some other teams."

– Flames Lee Stempniak

 

 

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