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Game 10: Avalanche At Flames, Preview And Open Thread

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I have a very bad feeling about this game.  

The Flames gave the Minnesota Wild their first regulation loss on Wednesday, and are cruising on a 5-1-1 record since starting the season 0-2-1.  The reason: Jarome Iginla.  With 16 points, he's now third in the league in scoring, with no signs of slowing down.  His linemates, former Av Alex Tanguay and Daymond Langkow are also playing extremely well.

Things don't look so good for Colorado.  Milan Hejduk will sit again tonight after skating but not practicing yesterday as his back continues to heal from whatever he did to it.  Also, Jordan Leopold (hand) joins Karlis Skrastins (shoulder) on the growing list of injured Avalanche defensemen.  Leopold is apparently comprised entirely of glass or some kind of cheap plastic, as he continues to break apart all over the place.  Young Jeff Jillson has been called up to replace him.

Leopold and Skratch being out doesn't necessarily mean things are all bad, since Jeff Finger and Kyle Cumiskey will take their places, and those two have been playing better anyway.  Everyone but Coach Q knows that Finger should start every game, so this will give him additional chances to convince the doubters.  Baby-face Cumiskey will continue to gain important NHL experience.

What does look bad, though, is the fact that Coach Q is once again screwing with Peter Budaj, who performed superbly against Edmonton on Tuesday.  Though Budaj has gotten two full days of rest between games, Q is going with Jose Theodore in net tonight.  I'm not sure I even want to bring up this topic anymore---it's too mind-numbingly ridiculous.  But such is life.

The last time the Avalanche faced the Flame-Outs, they had to erase a three-goal deficit and ultimately won in a shootout.  But don't expect them to pull that off twice if the Flames take a significant early lead, which is entirely possible.  Or probable, depending on how cynical you are about goaltending.

The game starts at 7:00 PM Mountain time, 9:00 PM Eastern.  I'm hoping Center Ice carries the Calgary feed tonight, but I'll probably get stuck listening to Mike Haynes and Peter McNab give Dion Phaneuf another verbal handjob, like they always do when the Avs play the Flames.  Sorry for that visual image, kids, but it's true.

Last game we had FOUR people contribute to the thread (130 total comments!).  Let's shoot for five people tonight!!  Don't act like you have anything better to do on a Friday night, especially you married jerks.  I'll be live blogging regardless of the turnout, but it's nice to have company.  See you then!

ESPN preview.