Photo Credit: on Chenoy / USA Today Sports

FGD 76: An avalanche of points (7pm MT, SN West)

Barring a meltdown of catastrophic proportions, the Calgary Flames are going to be playing when the Stanley Cup playoffs begin on April 12. With seven games remaining in the regular season, the Flames first course of action is to make their playoff presence official by clinching a spot. After that? It’s time to work on some of their rough spots, because the West may actually be wide open this year.

The Flames can work on both of the things on their to-do list tonight when they host the Colorado Avalanche. Unlike the Flames, the Avalanche are not a playoff team. To be blunt, the Avalanche are about as far away from being a playoff team as you can get, mired in the midst of one of the worst seasons in recent NHL memory. If you’re the Flames, coming off a road trip with just one win in three outings, you’re looking to regain your swagger as you prepare for life after Game 82.

The action starts at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!


Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Brian Elliott starts once again for the Flames. He’s 24-14-3 with a 2.48 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. If we sound like broken records praising Elliott, it’s with good reason: he’s been really solid, and occasionally excellent, over the past eight weeks or so. Since January 26, the game in Ottawa, nobody has more wins than Elliott and only Jake Allen, Sergei Bobrovsky and Jonathan Bernier have been save percentages.

The Flames got back into the win column on Saturday in St. Louis, winning a really tight-checking game in overtime. Tonight’s game is likely to be a lot different, if only because Colorado is basically an American Hockey League team at this point and they’re playing very loose (and with nothing to lose). For reference: the Flames are 18-5-1 with a +19 goal differential, while the Avalanche are 7-20-1 with a -41 differential. If the Flames can get their swagger back and play their style of game, don’t expect this one to be close.


Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Calvin Pickard and Jeremy Smith split the duties in Colorado’s home and home series with Edmonton, but it sounds like Pickard will start tonight. He’s 13-26-2 with a 2.91 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. He’s decent, but definitely a notch below a strong NHL goaltender. Colorado remains without Semyon Varlamov, Nikita Zadorov and Matt Nieto.

Since 2000-01, only three teams have lost 51 games in regulation in a season: the 2000-01 Islanders and the 2013-14 and 2014-15 Sabres. By way of their loss on Saturday against the Oilers, Colorado has joined that illustrious group. In short: they’re awful. They’re poised to be the first team with a points percentage below .300 since the 1999-2000 Atlanta Thrashers. That’s right, they’re Thrashers bad.

Oh, hey there Joe Colborne. Didn’t see you there, what with your four goal output this season coming from just a pair of games.


Wins 42 20
Power Play 19.3% 12.4%
Penalty Kill 81.0% 77.9%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 50.6% 46.4%


This is the 158th regular season game featuring the Flames and Avalanche franchises, including games played between Atlanta and Quebec. The Flames have a 72-57-28 record all-time. This is the third of three meetings between these teams this year.


Here are some Avalanche follows for this evening:


The Flames enter tonight’s game with a magic number of 3. Any combination of 3 Flames wins or Kings losses clinches a playoff spot for the Flames. The Kings are idle tonight.


After tonight’s game, the Flames play six games: Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim twice, Los Angeles again and San Jose again. That’s four games against playoff teams who they’re jockeying for position with, and a pair against what’s likely to be a very cranky Kings team that’s about to be eliminated from post-season contention. In other words: this is the last game they have for a tune-up before the intensity gets ratcheted up… and stays up until their playoffs end.

  • Craig

    Looking at this Avalanche team, there is a really decent top six F and what should be a capable top four D, and yet a Corsi of 46 is awful. This team does not seem as bad as those buffalo teams who were just awful.

  • Atomic Clown

    I would like to see a convincing win tonight. How an awful team and a team fighting for divisional position should play. I believe Gaudreau, Monahan and Backlund have all passed the 50 point mark, Dougie is only two points away, and Tkachuk four. Let’s go Dougie.

    • The Doctor

      Bourque was certainly a disappointment in terms of development. I remember that there was a time when he looked like a truly promising power forward, with a decent set of hands. Just goes to show, you never know.

  • Pizzaman

    Echo that Flames have to win tonight. Kings have left two games each with Flames and Oilers, singles with Canucks, Coyotes, Hawks and Ducks. They are unlikely to win every game. After tonight Flames will be playing Ducks Kings and Sharks twice. All teams that want to beat the Flames badly. Could we lose 6 in a row? The Prosecution calls to the stand San Jose Sharks, losers of 6 in a row….HOWEVER Kings wont win all their remaining games and we still make the playoffs! But do we really want to play the Hawks in the first round? I will take any of Sharks, Ducks and especially Oilers instead. First Round here we Come!!!

  • everton fc

    This will be (and should be, based on what we have on our roster) the playoff lineup. The 4th line could really surprise us all. And if Brouwer keeps putting pucks in the net – no matter how they get there – I’d say our 3rd line has a lot of playoff experience (Stajan’s been once, as well!)

    With Rene Bourque as a 1st line RW, a guy who’ll be playing either in the “A” or Europe next season… A 6-0 shellacking is what this fan is looking for this evening. Go Flames!!

    • The Fall

      It’s good to know Ferkland has a (brief) history as a playoff performer. He should help to spark the scoring line in the playoffs… unlike last time when Hudler disappeared.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    OK Flames, Lets get the Magic # down to 2 and then put the Kings out of their Misery(sorry Iggy) and Clinch on Wednesday(assuming EDM beats the Kings on Tuesday) ! Time to Crank it up and get er Done!

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      Let’s give the Kings some credit to beat the Oilers first. They won’t be so PO’d. We can still finish them off Wednesday. Make no mistake though, the Kings will still be wanting to get in Tkachuk’s face. They may not be able to make the playoffs, but they would be happy in seeing Matt get suspended again.

  • Alberta Ice

    I still can’t believe we got Matthew Tkachuk this past draft. And it is so good to have back the ’10 game winning streak’ line up again and running. This team combination is legitimate. Great job Tre and GG. Stoner and Bartkowski have been huge additions. Especially glad to see Moose now being the goaltender we were expecting at the beginning of the year. GFG

  • BlueMoonNigel

    My old granny has more of a push in her bowel movements than the Avs are showing tonight.

    I say good-bye to GM Joe and whomever is coaching the sasquatches. Hire a real GM and coach and keep the core together and build.

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    I wouldn’t say there are a lot of haters here. Brouwer has been struggling most of the year. Flames fans expect him to earn his money. I’m sure I can speak for most flames fans we would be more than happy to have broewer succeed and stay based on merritt

    • Arminius

      Game winning goal in the biggest game of the season. Facts. I’ll look forward to hearing how he was a POS in the post game wrap though. How bout Monny. Those dips ticks that wanted to deal him. Also the same ones said we shouldn’t sign Janko

    • Burning Ring of Fire

      Obviously you want all players to succeed. The problem is that he isn’t really struggling and when you look at his past stats he is pretty much as advertised. It was a bad signing based on term and money.