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Preview: Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche, 1/9/19 (45/82): Flames Can’t Take Struggling Avs Lightly

Colorado is a free fall, but their top line can turn the tables quickly.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche, 7:30 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB

TV: ESPN+, SNW

Radio: Sportsnet 960

Calgary Flames 27-13-4 (58) - Colorado Avalanche 20-15-8 (48)

NHL Standings

The Calgary Flames return home to the Saddledome after a four game road trip to the awaiting Colorado Avalanche. The Flames are currently riding a modest two game winning streak and they also have the second most points in the NHL with 58. Calgary is getting contributions from all four lines, but the top line is doing the bulk of the heavy lifting. The line of Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Elias Lindholm has combined for 168 points with Gaudreau leading the way lately. Since December 12th the All Star forward has 25 points in 13 games, with eight of those games being multi point contests. Calgary also got some good news this week as a healthy David Rittich returned to the crease and got a victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, stopping 32 of the 35 shots that came his way.

The Avalanche are no cupcake waiting for the Flames at home. Colorado has THE top line in the NHL in Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. These three have combined for 175 points and they all land in the Top 10 in the main offensive categories one way or another (goals, assists, points). As a team the Avs are 6th in the league in GF with 148 (9 behind the Flames) and their PP lands at 6th as well. Colorado is a robust 26.5% with the man advantage and have scored 42 PPG in 42 games.

The Flames took the last meeting of these teams 6-5 back on November 1st. Calgary spread their offence around with six different players scoring in a game that saw both teams total up 63 shots on goal. Mark Giordano and Matthew Tkachuk had multi point nights and they might need that type of point outburst if they want to extend their winning streak to three games. Colorado hasn’t been playing their best hockey as of late, having dropped 8 out of their last 9, but Calgary should not take this team lightly. A team with that much fire power can easily turn the tables on you quickly. With that in mind, the Flames are 7-3-0 in their last 10 against the Avalanche at the Saddledome.

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Rittich (E)- 15-4-3, 2.40 GAA, .921 Save%

Avalanche: Grubauer (E)- 9-4-3, 3.13 GAA, .902 Save%

Team Leaders

Flames: Goals- Gaudreau (26), Points- Gaudreau (64), PIM- Bennett (70), Save%- Rittich (.921)

Avalanche: Goals- MacKinnon (25), Points-Rantanen (65), PIM- Cole (56), Save%- Varlamov (.912)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Colorado Avalanche Coverage: Mile High Hockey

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 4 - Chicago Blackhawks 3

Colorado Avalanche 4 - Winnipeg Jets 7

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Elias Lindholm (C): 20G - 30A, 9 points in last 5 games

Colorado Avalanche

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nathan MacKinnon (C): 25G - 38A, 7 points in last 5 games