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Game 77 Preview: Flames at Avalanche


Vs_medium Matchavalanche_medium
Calgary Flames
7:30 MT / 9:30 ET
Colorado Avalanche
39-29-9 April 2, 2010
87 pts Pepsi Center
89 pts
9th in West
Denver, CO
8th in West


March showers bring April flowers. Let's hope the Avs' dismal losing ways are behind them and the days of winning are set to return tonight as the Avalanche host the Flames in what is truly the BIGGEST GAME OF THE YEAR. We've talked a lot about "must win games", but never was that sentiment more exact and appropriate than tonight.

A couple weeks ago, when last these Northwest Division rivals battled, Calgary finally solved Colorado for the first time all season 3-2 in Denver. In the 16 days since, the Avs have gained a measly 3 points in the standings (1-5-1)  while the Flames have gobbled up 10 much needed points. The result is that the streaking Flames now sit only 2 points behind the hiccuping (it's not a choke yet people!) Avalanche for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Flames looked all but certain to miss the playoffs only two weeks ago, but now it's the Avalanche who appear to be breaking down. But as Dutchy says, "no wheels are falling off here".

The Avalanche will get a HUGE boost tonight as both Brandon Yip and Stephane Yelle are set to return from injuries. Yip has missed the last 14 games due to a shoulder injury. The red hot rookie had scored 11 goals and 18 points in only 26 games before being sidelined and will inject some punch into a less than punchy offense of late. Yelle's return will help to strengthen the Avalanche's defensive effort which has been sub par lately to say the least.

Many culprits have been lined up in front of the firing squad as reasons to why the Avalanche have hit their worst stretch of the season now (rotating defenseman, multiple injuries, goalie play/management, Y2K, El Nino, Bird Flu), but none of it matters going forward. The Avs need to not just play better now, but they need to win games now. A Calgary win tonight would move the Flames into a tie with the Avalanche in points, but Colorado still holds the tie breakers and a game in hand, and so would retain the 8th spot - but let's not rest on our laurels boys! The Avalanche hold their fate in their hands right now. They don't need other teams to lose, they control their own destiny. Win and you're in. It's that simple.

From all of us here in the MdoubleH community, GO AVS!

Matchsticks and Gasoline

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