FGD 40: Jarome Iginla visits (and Colorado, too) (8pm MT, SN West)

Ryan Pike
January 04 2017 12:00PM

The Calgary Flames approach the halfway point of their schedule this week and they inch closer to it tonight when they host the Colorado Avalanche. Best known as the team that Jarome Iginla is currently playing on – and one of the dirt-worst outfits in the National Hockey League – Colorado comes to town for the first of two visits this season.

The action kicks off at 8 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan! It's a late game of a doubleheader on Sportsnet.

THE FLAMES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Alex Chiasson
Matthew Tkachuk Mikael Backlund Michael Frolik
Kris Versteeg Sam Bennett Micheal Ferland
Lance Bouma Matt Stajan Freddie Hamilton

Mark Giordano Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie Dennis Wideman
Tyler Wotherspoon Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott gets the start tonight. He's won his last four starts and was really good against Arizona, particularly when the Flames got a 4-0 lead and just started coasting. Elliott is 7-9-1 with a 3.00 goals against average and a .893 save percentage. He's been superb lately, albeit against some bad teams (Arizona twice, Colorado and Vancouver). It's better than losing to them. In other line-up news: Tyler Wotherspoon and Freddie Hamilton are in, while Jyrki Jokipakka and Garnet Hathaway sit tonight.

The Flames have been okay lately, basically playing win-one, lose-one hockey in the past couple weeks. They've been decent at even strength and forced to make hay on the power play. It's worked, but you've gotta think at some point their even strength play will have to get it going.

Mikael Backlund's been fantastic lately, coming into tonight's game on a four game goal (and points) streak. He's got eight points (five goals, three assists) in that span, and has been the crux of Calgary's best line all season long playing between Matthew Tkachuk and Michael Frolik.

THE AVALANCHE

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Gabriel LandeskogNathan MackinnonMikko Rantanen
Mikhail  GrigorenkoMatt DucheneRene Bourque
Blake Comeau Carl SoderbergJarome Iginla
Cody McLeodJohn MitchellAndreas Martinsen

Fedor Tyutin Tyson Barrie
Francois Beauchemin Nikita Zadorov
Patrick Wiercioch Eric Gelinas

With Semyon Varlamov still injured, we'll likely see Calvin Pickard tonight. He's 6-10-1 with a 3.14 goals against average and .898 save percentage. He's not bad, but he hasn't been good enough to hold Colorado in games.

Colorado is not a good hockey club this year. They've lost four games in a row and nine of their last 10. They're dead-last in the NHL in terms of points percentage. Nobody's scored fewer goals per game. Nobody's allowed more goals per game. They're bad at special teams, too. It's a bit sad to see Iginla closing out his career like this.

Speaking of that future first-ballot Hall of Famer, Postmedia's Wes Gilbertson did a great look at the possibility that this is Iginla's last hurrah at the Saddledome. Check it out, and then ponder Iginla's future. Either way, he's bound to get a fantastic reception in his old stomping grounds.

THE NUMBERS


FLAMES
AVALANCHE
Wins
20
12
Points
(Pct.)
42
(.538)
25
(.338)
Power Play
19.5%
13.6%
Penalty Kill
82.1%
78.9%
Score-Adjusted Corsi
49.5%
44.9%
Jarome Iginlas
0
1

HISTORY LESSON

This is the 157th regular season game featuring the Flames and Avalanche franchises, including games played between Atlanta and Quebec. The Flames have a 71-57-28 record all-time. This is the second of three meetings between these teams this year; they meet one last time in Calgary on March 27.

This is just Iginla's fifth road game in Calgary. He played here once with Boston and three times with Colorado, amassing just one assist. He played 609 home games for the Flames in the Saddledome (plus one in McMahon Stadium), making him by far the leader in that category.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Here are some Avalanche follows for this evening:

SUM IT UP

The Flames approach the midway point of their season with an admittedly winnable game against one of the NHL's lesser lights. They need to pick up two points.

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Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames since 2010. He's Senior Contributing Editor at FlamesNation, a Senior Writer covering the Flames and the NHL Draft for The Hockey Writers, and a correspondent for the Fischler Report. You can see his hand or the side of his head on TV sometimes.
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#51 RKD
January 04 2017, 10:37PM
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Brutal, Elliott was sooo close to the shutout!

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#52 jakethesnail
January 04 2017, 10:40PM
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What a beatdown!

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#53 flames2015
January 04 2017, 10:40PM
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5 guys in the frame and they let wiercoich walk right in..almost perfect finish. Elliot should have had the shut out.

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#54 Ktop
January 04 2017, 10:42PM
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Here's an idea. Stop the puck!

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#55 everton fc
January 04 2017, 11:05PM
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Elliott has found his game. If Johnson can continue to be consistent... And guys like Bennett, Monahan - and yes, Gaudreau - can find their offensive touch...

We could be a very dangerous team, come playoff time.

Back-to-back vs. the Nucks should be fun. January's schedule is not overwhelming.

GO FLAMES!

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#56 Kybb79
January 04 2017, 11:06PM
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RKD wrote:

That would be a good fight.

I seen Gio fight before.Iggy would have made him look silly!

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#57 Arminius
January 04 2017, 11:11PM
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Arminius wrote:

Pickard and Pals gonna get whooped.

Yup

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#58 cberg
January 05 2017, 09:03AM
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Tomas Oppolzer wrote:

The hoops you jump through to avoid giving Backlund any credit is truly astounding. You honestly think the 19 year old is THE driving force on a line with two players who have been dominating play 5on5 for the better part of a decade? I love Tkachuk, and he is fantastic, but he definitely benefits just as much, if not more, from playing with Backlund as Backlund does from playing with him.

Backlund certainly is very good, and has provided a "Backlund bump" for several guys over the past couple of years. However, just as clearly, he is benefiting from a "Tkachuk bump" this season. Its not a slight to any of those guys, they really complement each other and support each other to make a great line.

Now what we need to do is find the same for Gaudreau and Monahan. Personally I believe its Ferland, but they haven't had the time to work out the kinks (i.e. who's switching to RW) so in the meantime Chiasson has been doing OK there....

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#59 Brodano12
January 05 2017, 11:50AM
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McRib wrote:

Iginla trying to fight Gio, that's interesting I always heard they didn't like each other. I was a huge fan of Iginla growing up, but I have herd for years that things weren't going well the last couple of years with him in Calgary (i.e. He didn't want to relenqish power and basically kept to himself). I get a kick out of the fact that people think he would ever come back, both sides have moved on for years. Thanks for the memories though Jarome, 2004 was a blast.

Both players hold each other in really high regard, so I have no idea what you are talking about.

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