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Game 10--Avalanche@Flames: God Bless Craig Conroy

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Game Preview


The Opposition


After a terrifying third period in which most Flames fans were barely able to look at the product on the ice, both the Flames and those watching them are ready to get back to quality play. Calgary dominated the first two periods against Edmonton and Brent Sutter shelled for the entire third. And did it poorly, to boot. Colorado on the other hand, well, hasn't been great. That's certainly not to say they've been terrible though.

If you'll recall last year, the Colorado Avalanche were somewhat...lucky. They had a high SH% and Craig Anderson (lovingly referred to by me as "Cranderson") played out of his mind most of the year, leading to a playoff berth over the Flames. Of course they got killed in the playoffs, San Jose's hilarious moments aside. So, are they better this year? Well, the answer was yes. As Jibblescribbits talks about here, their play at EV has been much improved, they're just not getting all the results yet.

That would be much more terrifying, however, if they had the goaltending to go with it. And as of Tuesday, they don't. Craig Anderson's knee had, well, something happen to it. Some rumors indicate it's a torn ACL, which would actually be pretty sad, since great players- even on divisional rivals- only make the game better. But the most recent news indicates it's a minor knee injury that won't require surgery and will only keep him out for a couple weeks.

The Avalanche lost to the loathsome Canucks in OT on Tuesday, with Peter Budaj giving up some bizarro-off-the-faceoff goal to Mason Raymond. Despite that, they've played well against the NW Division's annointed ones this year, outshooting Vancouver 39-31, with 3 goals coming from David Jones, Daniel Winnik, and Matt Duchene. Chris Stewart had 4 shots and an assist, and J.M. Liles set some strange NHL record for defenseman assists in consecutive games to start a season. As far as the Avalanche as a whole for the season- they remind me a lot of the Flames, in that they win on their depth. There's no true offensive juggernaut first line that everyone seems so concerned with these days. They spread the top minutes around, but guys like Paul Stastny, T.J. Galiardi, and Chris Stewart face the tough competition while Duchene and company feed on the weaker guys.

Finally, the important storyline tonight is Craig Conroy hitting 1000 career games. It's okay to tear up at the pre-game ceremony, since almost half (seriously, 498) of them have been for the Flames. Go Connie.

Stray Thoughts

  • How good is Paul Stastny? Consistently plays the tough minutes and still puts up great points. He's basically Ryan Kesler with more skill/less pest.
  • Karlsson might will get the start tonight. That'll be...interesting.
  • Chris Stewart reminds me of a young Jarome Iginla- aggressive, smart, and scores a lot. Not many power forwards in their mold these days.
  • Former Flame farm-hand David Van der Gulik has been getting regular ice time with the Avalanche. Not a lot, but you know, some. Good to see him get a chance.
  • It'll be interesting to see how the Flames react to Tuesday's game. Does it repeat itself? Does just the third period? Just the first two?

Expected Line Combos and D Pairings

Tanguay-Stajan-Iginla
Hagman-Jokinen-Bourque
Glencross-Backlund-Morrison
Conroy-Meyer-Jackman

Bouwmeester-Regehr
Giordano-White
Mikkelson-Sarich

Karlsson

I'll be on the road for most of this game, so I won't see you in the thread, but as always, Go Flames Go.