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Game 27 Preview: Avalanche at Flames

The Avalanche look to respond to an embarrassing loss to the Edmonton Oilers as they travel to Calgary in the second half of a back to back.


Last night was a gross one. The Avs have been blown out twice this season, once by the St. Louis Blues and once by the Edmonton Oilers. One of these things is not like the other, one of things just doesnt belong. Last time the Avalanche lost a game this badly they responded with a 4-1 loss to the lowly Florida Panthers. As the Avs travel into Calgary to face a struggling Flames team, they will hopefully respond better to this blowout loss than they did the last one. If not? Well... Bus, wheels, season over, you know how it goes.

Worse than the loss on the scoreboard, however, was losing Jan Hejda to a scary looking first period knee injury. While Nate Guenin has performed.... admirably in his role with the Avalanche this season, he is not a top pairing defender. But thats what happened when Jan Hejda went down with an injury last night. Nate Guenin lead all Avalanche players in ice time with 24:33. Thats almost a 1:30 more than Erik Johnson. If you're wondering how Guenin did in his expanded role, he was on the ice for 5 Oilers goals. He and Tyson Barrie were both just abysmal against the Oilers. If the Oilers are going to lean on these two and Nick Holden moving forward, well.... that's playing with fire.

Speaking of playing with fire, the Avalanche will need to come out hot against the Flames, who they beat 4-2 in Colorado early last month. Entering this road trip the Flames and Oilers combined to equal the Avalanche's 19 wins on the season, so yes, leaving Calgary tomorrow with 0 points on the 2 game swing would be a colossal failure by the Avalanche.

Quick Hits

- Jan Hejda is headed back to Denver today to meet with team doctors, Cory Sarich will likely fill his spot in the lineup.

- Mark Giordano recently returned to the Flames lineup after missing much of this season with an injury, that's big for the Flames.

- If you remove the empty netter against the Wild, the Avalanche have not scored 3 goals since November 21st. Yikes.

- The Avs defense will include Benoit, Barrie, Guenin and Holden playing with significant ice time.

- J.S. Giguere gets the start in net for the Avalanche, Varlamov will start on Sunday against the Canucks.

- It would be nice if Matt Duchene would score again, he hasnt found the back of the net since November 14th against the St. Louis Blues.