Yikes, I would not have wanted to be in that Avalanche dressing room last night.
I am guessing things were not to pleasant after the Avs (19-7-0), the Flames opponent tonight, were embarrassed 8-2 by the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night in Edmonton. Consequently, the Avalanche will likely not be in a great mood tonight when they head to
Hoth Calgary to play a Flames team that is on a two-game winning streak.
For the first time this season, the Flames managed to allow fewer than two goals in two consecutive games. The Flames will need to continue this solid defensive play against an Avs team with a lot of weapons up front.
The Avs starting the season on an absolutely torrid pace, climbing to the top of the Western Conference for a while. Things are beginning to settle for them of late, as they are 5-5-0 in their last ten.
Here’s their roster courtesy of Dailyfaceoff.com!
- Landeskog – Stastny – Parenteau
- O’Reilly – Duchene – Mackinnon
- McGinn – Mitchell – Talbot
- Macleod – Cliche – Bordeleau
- Hejda – Johnson
- Benoit – Guenin
- Barrie – Holden
As you can see, their roster is fairly top-heavy with a lot (like, a ton) of skill up front and a fairly meh bottom six. The Flames will likely try to force the Avs to play a physical, muddy style of hockey tonight in order to compensate for the speed and offensive prowess of the Avs top six forwards. Fans will not be treated to the return of Alex Tanguay tonight as he is on IR with a knee injury.
On the back end, the Avs are very young. If the Flames are going to win this game, they will have to exploit the inexperience of some of these D men and create turnovers. It also appears as though Flames fans would get to see the return of Cory Sarich either, as he is not listed in their starting roster. So, don’t bother wearing his jersey to the Dome tonight.
In net, the Flames get J.S Giguere, as Varlamov was the goaltender of record in last night’s 8-2 shelling at Rexall.
A few changes from the roster that beat Phoenix on Wednesday but it will largely be the same squad, minus a goon-swap. Here is the roster thanks to our friends at Daily Faceoff:
- Cammalleri – Stajan – Stempniak
- Hudler – Backlund – D.Jones
- Baertschi – *Colborne* – B. Jones
- Bouma – Byron – MacDermid
- Russell – Brodie
- Smid – Giordano
- Butler – O’Brien
There is a bit of uncertainty surrounding the Flames roster this morning with Joe Colborne missing the morning skate with flu-like symptoms. He will be a gametime decision. Yesterday, Brian McGrattan left practice early with an apparent knee problem. This led to the recall of newly acquired Tim Jackman body-double Lane MacDermid from Abby (Max Reinhart going the other way). For a brief moment there was some thought, however fleeting, that the Flames might try to play tonight without a facepuncher but alas, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards this season.
Backlund had a very strong game Wednesday against Phoenix, playing 14:02 and scoring the game winning goal in the second period. Obviously, playing with better linemates is going to help his production but what is more important is the fact that he got a chance to play regular minutes last game. Backlund had a chance to get comfortable in a game and start to make plays rather than doing his best to make something happen with his six minutes of ice with the thugs. Hopefully, this is a trend that will continue in the upcoming weeks but honestly, with the state of flux this roster has been in so far this season, who knows?
Karri Ramo drew even more praise from the coaching staff after his performance on Wednesday, with one journalist tweeting that the goalie competition is "heating up." Well, this seems like a gross mischaracterization but if you want to call one goalie stopping pucks semi-consistently at an NHL league-average level and the other one…just starting a lot, then sure, things are getting hot!
The Flames are looking to put three solid games together for basically the first time this season. They will have to contend with a pissed-off Avalanche squad who likely got a pretty, um stern, talking to from their coach following their last performance.
Hopefully, the Flames can take advantage of some over-exuberance early and tired legs late and get their third win in a row.