|Calgary Flames @ Colorado Avalanche, 7 PM MT, Pepsi Center, Denver CO|
|TV: RSNW, Alti|
|Radio: Sportsnet 960|
The Flames are back from the Christmas break and hit the road to take on old pal Jarome Iginla and the last place Colorado Avalanche. The Flames went into the break with a 4-1 dismantling of the Vancouver Canucks to give them 2 wins in their last 3. Prior to that mini run the Flames had come crashing back to Earth. After playing nearly the best hockey in the month of December (only Columbus was better), Chad Johnson hit a rather large road bump and the Flames went from winners of 6 straight to losers of 2 out of their next 3. The ship seems to be righting with the addition of Garnet Hathaway to the lineup. He doesn’t score, but he does add something to the Flames lineup and the numbers back it up. The Flames are sub .500 when playing at the Pepsi Center of the years and are 2-3-0 in their last 5 visits. With that said, this isn’t exactly your dad’s Avalanche.
Poor Jarome Iginla. The certain Hall Of Famer is most likely (if not traded) to finish his illustrious NHL career on the worst team in the NHL. The Avalanche are terrible and that’s the kind way to describe them. The Av’s are a league worst in goals for with 67 and 4th worst in the league in goals allowed with 105. Their goaltending has been abysmal. Former #1 and Russian Olympian Semyon Varlamov is a brutal 6-14-0 and is day to day with a groin injury. Matt Duchene is still a force to be reckoned with as he leads the team with 12 goals, but this season is all but a loss and is quickly heading towards a “most ping pong balls” in the lottery scenario. The Av’s come into this contest with a 3-7-0 record in their last 10 having given up 3 goals or more 8 times in that span.
This should be easy pickings for the Flames, but as we’ve seen this season with Calgary, you just never know. Here’s how the teams match-up:
|Calgary Flames||Colorado Avalanche|
|4th Pacific||Division||7th Central|
|8th Pacific||Conference||14th West|
|Monahan (10)||Goals||Duchene (12)|
|Gaudreau (22)||Points||MacKinnon (23)|
|Johnson (.922)||Save %||Pickard (.911)|
|18.8 (15th)||PP %||14.7 (25th)|
|80.5 (19th)||PK %||79.0 (25th)|
|Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)||Record||GAA||Save %|
|Flames: Johnson (E)||13-7-1||2.30||.922|
|Avalanche: Varlamov (E)||6-14-0||3.33||.901|
Calgary Flames 4 Vancouver Canucks 1
The Flames roared into the break with an absolutely dominating performance over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night, winning 4-1. Vancouver was lucky the Flames left with only 4 goals. Calgary peppered Jacob Markstrom with 36 shots and Mikael Backlund (3 points) had one of his best games of the season and Michael Frolik appeared on the score sheet after a long drought with 2 assists of his own. Here’s our recap, the highlights and stats from the contest.
|Flames Stats vs Canucks 12/23/16|
Colorado Avalanche 2 Chicago Blackhawks 1 (OT)
The Avalanche needed OT, but they took down the Chicago Blackhawks (!) 2-1 Friday night. It was Colorado’s first win in 5 games and they got strong goaltending from Calvin Pickard. Pickard stopped 38 of 39 shots to get the Av’s the win. Mile High Hockey has the recap and NHL.com provides the highlights.
Players to Watch:
Calgary Flames: Mark Giordano (D). The Captain went into the break on a nice high. Gio’s offence has been quietly effective this season. He’s got 14 points (5G 9A) and managed to hammer home a power play and a short handed goal against Vancouver. Those 2 points snapped a 4 game streak where he brought donuts to the table. Hopefully that 2 point outburst will get the Captain going. He’s got 6 points in his last 10 games against the Av’s.
Colorado Avalanche: Jarome Iginla (F). It’s only Iggy because this may be one of the last times (pending a trade) that the Flames see him in his career. Iginla is having a horrible season with the Av’s where the veteran has only seen the back of the net 4 times and is a -8. December has done him no favors so far either. In 12 games he has 3 points and is a -6. No one likes to see a veteran go out like this, but unless he’s dealt at the deadline, this is going to be a tough ending to watch. In the 8 games he’s played against the Flames he has 7 points.