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FGD 63: An afternoon with the Avalanche (2pm MT, SN West)

The Calgary Flames (31-22-9) hope to nudge themselves closer to the playoffs this afternoon when they host the team directly below them in the Western Conference standings, the Colorado Avalanche (32-23-5). The Flames halted their losing skid with a 5-2 victory over Arizona on Thursday night, and they’re hoping to get on a winning streak and make up lost ground in the Western playoff race.

The puck drops around 2 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

Projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Bennett
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Mangiapane – Jankowski – Hathaway
Lazar – Stajan – Brouwer (A)

Giordano (C) – Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone

There’s no game-day skate because of the early start, so it’s currently unclear who’s starting in net. If it’s Jon Gillies, he’s 1-0-0 with a 3.26 goals against average and .891 save percentage this season. If it’s David Rittich, he’s 6-4-3 with a 3.03 goals against average and .902 save percentage this season. He’s backed up by Jon Gillies. Andrew Mangiapane was recalled earlier today and slots into the lineup in place of Micheal Ferland, who missed the third period against Arizona due to injury. The other extra bodies are Tanner Glass and Matt Bartkowski.

The Flames are coming off a win against a bad Arizona team where they beat the Coyotes in every game situation – even strength, power play and short-handed. It’s a nice start, and a nice chance to get their confidence back, but there’s a big difference between doing that against Arizona and doing that against a good team. The Flames are two points up on the Avalanche and can put some distance between them and Colorado with a win.

The Avalanche

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Landeskog – MacKinnon – Rantanen
Compher – Kerfoot – Wilson
Comeau – Soderberg – Nieto
Bourque – Jost – Yakupov

Zadorov – Barrie
Nemeth – Girard
Siemens – Warsofsky

Semyon Varlamov starts for Colorado. He’s 15-12-3 with a 2.87 goals against average and .913 save percentage. He’s backed up by The Hamburglar, Andrew Hammond. The expected healthy scratches are Andrei Mironov and Dominic Toninato.

The Avalanche are an interesting bunch. They have some really interesting veteran players (Landeskog, MacKinnon and Barrie in particular), plus a mixture of young up-and-comers and reclamation projects to fill out the roster. They lack high-end depth, but they’re full of energy and speed and have been a tough out for a lot of teams this season.

Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee), Kris Versteeg (hip) and Marek Hrivik (undisclosed) are on the injured reserve. Mike Smith (lower-body) is hurt but on the active roster.

Colorado: Vladislav Kamenev (arm), Mark Barberio (lower-body), Jonathan Bernier (concussion), Erik Johnson (upper-body), Sven Andrighetto (leg) and Anton Lindholm (upper-body) are on the injured reserve.

When Last We Met

This is the second of three games between these two teams this season. The Flames beat Colorado 3-2 back on Nov. 25. They’ll play once more in Denver on Wednesday night.

The Numbers

CGY COL
Wins 31 32
Points 71 69
Adjusted Corsi 52.3% 48.0%
Power Play 18.5% 20.2%
Penalty Kill 79.8% 83.3%

Know Thy Enemy

Here are some Avalanche-related accounts!

Sum It Up

The Flames have a chance to put some distance between themselves and a team they’re competing with for a playoff spot. They’ll need to find their lost killer instinct if they hope to make their playoff chase a little bit easier.

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Let’s show Vegas something they’ve never seen before—Alberta hockey fans.

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