Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche, 2 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB
Where To Watch & Listen
|Radio: Sportsnet 960|
The Flames return home for an afternoon matinee against the Colorado Avalanche. These two will tangle twice in next 4 days with WC implications on the line. Both teams are currently on the outside looking in with regards to the playoffs, Calgary 1 point out and the Avs 2 points out. To say these next 2 games between the two teams are big is an understatement.
Calgary comes home having split the two games on their brief 2 game road trip. They were able to stop a 3 game skid Thursday night in Arizona behind some very good goaltending from Jon Gillies and stellar play from their new look top line. Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett were flying on the ice all night long and the 3 combined for 6 points on the night. The Flames special teams have been playing well as of late as well. Calgary has a PPG in 7 of their last 8 games and the PK has killed off 23 of the last 27 penalties the team has taken.
While the PP numbers look good for Calgary, they may hit a road block with Colorado in town. The Avs are the 3rd best penalty killing team in the NHL, having killed off all but 6 man down opportunities this month. Colorado looked to have the inside track on the WC for a while, but a 5-5-1 February has slowed them down a bit. The Avalanche have dropped 3 of their last 4 and this afternoon’s stop in Calgary ends a 3 game swing through Western Canada where they beat Vancouver, but lost to Edmonton. Like the Flames, the Avs schedule doesn’t get an easier from here on out as they have to handle many of the top teams in the West as they push for the playoffs.
Calgary beat Colorado 3-2 back on November 25th behind a 24 save performance from David Rittich. We all know the Flames struggle at home, but Colorado is just as bad on the road. The Avs are 12-15-4 away from Pepsi Center, so something has to give. The Flames have won 4 of their last 5 tilts against the Avalanche at the Saddledome.
How They Match Up
|Calgary Flames||Stats||Colorado Avalanche|
|Calgary Flames||Stats||Colorado Avalanche|
|5th Pacific||Division||6th Central|
|10th West||Conference||11th West|
|Monahan (28)||Goals||MacKinnon (25)|
|Gaudreau (73)||Points||MacKinnon (65)|
|Backlund (66)||PIM||Johnson (56)|
|Smith (.921)||Save%||Bernier (.914)|
|18.5 (23rd)||PP%||20.2 (15th)|
|79.8 (17th)||PK%||83.3 (3rd)|
Starting Goalies (E=Expected,C=Confirmed)
|Flames: Gillies (E)||1-0-0||3.26||.891|
|Avalanche: Varlamov (E)||15-12-3||2.87||.913|
What’s Happening With The Opposition?
Colorado Avalanche Coverage: Mile High Hockey
What the Michael Grabner trade tells us about Blake Comeau's trade value https://t.co/ZdyRYWGtEK— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) February 23, 2018
Last Time Out
Calgary Flames 5 Arizona Coyotes 2
The Flames got a much needed win in Arizona Thursday night as they took down the Coyotes 5-2. Jon Gillies was strong in a 35 save performance and the Flames new look top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Sam Benentt and Sean Monahan set the tone early and all 3 had goals in the contest. Here’s our recap and the highlights from NHL.com
Colorado Avalanche 2 Edmonton Oilers 3 (OT)
The Oilers did the Flames a favour this week by taking down the Colorado Avalanche in OT Thursday night. Semyon Varlamov was clearly the star of the show for Colorado, even though he took the loss. The Avalanche netminder turned away 43 of the 46 shots he faced, enough to get the Avs 1 point in the loss. Mile High Hockey has the recap and NHL.com provides the highlights.
Players To Watch
Sam Bennett (F). The Flames shook things up by juggling the lines on Thursday and moving Sam Bennett up to the top line. The move IMMEDIATELY paid off. Bennett had a goal and an assist in the contest and he looked like a completely different player. The goal was only the 3rd time he’s lit the lamp in his last 19 games. Bennett has always been streaky and gone through prolonged scoring slumps, but maybe this move will help jump start him and send him on a little run.
Mikko Rantanen (F). The second year forward his having himself a season. His 56 points are second on the team and he’s well past his career high of 38 and it’s only February. Rantanen has 4 points in his last 5 games, but the road hasn’t been an easy place for him to score. In 31 games away from Pepsi Center he has only 5 goals, but he did manage to light the lamp at home against Calgary in Colorado’s 4-3 loss.