The Calgary Flames find themselves fighting for a spot in the playoffs after Christmas, something most fans would have called a Christmas miracle in early October. They'll look to avoid the post Christmas hangover and boy do they face just the opponent to kick off against to start the post-Christmas break - the dead last Colorado Avalanche. It's quit the way to start after a long hiatus.
Lance Bouma is back in the lineup for the injured Troy Brouwer. He'll be on line four while Micheal Deep and takes Brouwer's spot with Kris Versteeg and Sean Monahan. While Brouwer's special teams presence may be missed, he has been a bloody boat anchor for Monahan this season - Monahan's relative Corsi drops nearly six percent when he's partnered with Brouwer, so this may be just the thing Monahan needs to get going at even strength.
Jyrki Jokipakka is back in for Tyler Wotherspoon because apparently the Flames don't know that definition of insanity rule. Jokipakka and Deryk Engelland have been an abhorrent pairing as has T.J. Brodie and Dennis Wideman. If the Flames are serious about making the playoffs, they have to correct this rubbish because it's costing them games. That said, one has to wonder if Brett Kulak is down with Stockton so that he's out of sight and out of mind, thus making Las Vegas pick someone else.
Brian Elliott is in tonight, a move that makes sense against the last place Avalanche. He goes against Calvin Pickard. For those wondering why Semyon Varlamov isn't playing, he's the lone starting goalie with a worse adjusted five-on-five Fenwick save percentage than Elliott and he's dealing with a sore groin. Pockets hasn't been much better, but he's still younger, uninjured, and not a disgusting excuse for a human so he gets the nod.