Rss

Rising a four game winning streak, the Calgary Flames (15-12-4, 34 points) are in for a big, big test this evening. Tonight they visit Denver, where they face the Colorado Avalanche (19-18-2, 40 points), a team they’ve faced twice and been beaten by twice this season. Can they finally solve their recent playoff rivals?

The puck drops just after 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tkachuk – Lindholm – Mangiapane
Monahan – Backlund – Dube
Lucic – Ryan – Gaudreau
Rieder – Jankowski – Frolik

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson

David Rittich starts for the Flames, backed up by Cam Talbot. The projected scratches are Michael Stone and Zac Rinaldo. Despite the win, the Flames are making these tweaks (which makes one suspect that putting Stone and Rinaldo into Saturday’s game was about having some beef around to play the Kings).

The Flames have points in six consecutive games (5-0-1) and have won every single game under interim head coach Geoff Ward. Now, before you pronounce everything with the team perfect and fixed and hunky-dory, bear in mind the quality of the opposition and the fact that the Flames haven’t played four perfect games. They’re trending in the right direction, but they’ll need to be engaged, structured, and poised against a very good Colorado squad.

Calgary are 5-1 SU in their last 6 games. – From Oddsshark.com

The Avalanche

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Donskoi – MacKinnon – Rantanen
Landeskog – Compher – Burakovsky
Nichushkin – Bellemare – Nieto
Kamenev – Jost – Calvert

Girard – Zadorov
Rosen – Graves
Barberio – Cole

Pavel Francouz starts for the Avalanche, backed up by call-up Adam Werner. Philipp Grubauer and Cale Makar are nursing minor injuries and won’t play, nor will Nadem Kadri. Matt Calvert returns tonight, though.

The Avalanche are looking for their 20th win of the season. They’ve dealt with a slew of injuries, but they’re a deep enough group with good enough coaching that it hasn’t derailed them. The challenge for them will be maintaining their composure against a confident and motivated Flames group.

The Numbers

Flames Avalanche
Wins 15 19
Points 34 40
Adjusted Corsi 51.1% 50.3%
Power Play 17.5% 19.1%
Penalty Kill 84.1% 78.9%

Injury Report

The Flames are without F Sam Bennett (upper body), D Juuso Valimaki (ACL surgery) and F Austin Czarnik (lower body). Czarnik is in Stockton on a conditioning stint.

The Avalanche are missing G Philipp Grubauer (lower body), D Cale Makar (upper body), F Colin Wilson (lower body), D Erik Johnson (upper body) and F Nazem Kadri (lower body).

When Last We Met

This is the third and final meeting this season between these two clubs. The Avalanche beat the Flames 5-3 in October and 3-2 in November.

Know Thy Enemy

Here are some key Twitter peeps to follow for tonight: