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Game 17: Avalanche At Flames, Preview And Open Thread

Colorado Avalanche
Calgary Flames
8-8-0 November 18, 2008 9-8-1
Pengrowth Saddledome
Calgary, AB

The Colorado Avalanche haven't had a lot of luck against the Calgary Flames this season. They've already dropped the first two meetings between the teams, the first 5-4 and the second 3-0. With games against the Flame-Outs tonight and Thursday, the Avs have a chance to even the tally. Doing so would push Colorado above Calgary in the Northwest Division standings, too.
The Flames are having a rough month. So far in November they've gone 3-5-0, allowing 33 goals against while scoring only 21. The Avalanche, on the other hand, have turned a horrible start to the month around, first losing three games and then winning three, and will look to extend their win streak to four tonight.
Working against the Avalanche is symmetry. During this streaky season, the Avs lost three games, won five, lost five, and now have won three. 3-5-5-3. I'm no numerologist, but maybe the outcome of tonight's game is not exactly in Colorado's hands. Just sayin'.
Peter Budaj will be in net again for the Avs, his seventh straight start. He's cruising on a goals against average of 0.96 after his past three games (all one-goal wins) and has had much success since Coach Tony Granato changed up the defensive pairings on November 8 against Nashville. A tighter defense means a better Budaj, and assuming the blueline trend continues, he should have another strong showing.
Joe Sakic will not play, as reported earlier this week, due to an ongoing back problem. There is a chance he'll be back in action on Thursday when his team returns to Denver.
ESPN preview.