In danger of losing their fifth straight game just over a month into the season, the Flames are in Denver tonight to take on the injury depleted Avs (7:30PM MT, Sportsnet West & The Fan 960) after showing some signs of improvement in a 2-1 loss to Minnesota on Friday. Colorado is coming off a 5-0 shutout victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday, a game in which they recorded 45 shots on Stars goalie Andrew Raycroft.
Last time out against the Avs, the Flames built then blew a 3-1 second period lead and missed their chance at the Bettman Point when Colorado scored the game-winner with just over two minutes left. Tonight, after three day's rest, they will have to do their best to exploit an inexperienced blueline (four of their six defenders have appeared in combined 18 NHL games) and take advantage of Craig Anderson's continued absence in net. The Avs also currently boast the league's worst penalty kill at home, operating at just 63%, and the second worst overall at 71.7% efficiency.
Despite not scoring on Friday, the Flames' powerplay out-chanced the Wild PK 9-5 and generated ten shots on goal, and if they can keep that up against the Avs tonight, a bounce or two may just go their way. A number of Flames forwards including the Captain are due for a goal, and tonight would be as good a time as any for a breakthrough.
As for the lineup, Curtis Glencross will play after sitting out against the Wild with a minor injury, once again forcing Stefan Meyer to the press box. Brendan Mikkelson will also be scratched tonight for the second consecutive game in favour of Steve Staios, although his sister Meagan scored for Canada in a losing cause tonight at the Four Nations Cup.
Lines and Pairings:
Porter-Dupuis-Van der Gulik
Yeah. I don't think the Avs even know who's playing D for them tonight. Flames fans know, perhaps better than anyone else, what this Colorado offence is capable of, and if the Flames hope to put them down and keep them there they'll have to get a jump on them early, pound the living daylight out of their defence, and do their best to make sure the puck rarely crosses their blueline.
Also, I've got the Bourque shirt on tonight, figured the boys could used a bit of a boost. Let's hope it works. Go Flames.