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Game 72 Preview: Colorado Avalanche at Calgary Flames

11 to go.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

And then there were 11.  Games, that is.  11 more games before the offseason.  11 more games before the dreaded August.  Only 11 more games.

To be fair, the Avs still have a 3.2% chance of making the playoffs.  It's at least bigger than 0, and a win tonight would help our chances fairly significantly.  Unfortunately, we're in the division from hell where every single team is on pace to finish with 89+ pts, which means our chances of winning a wild card are actually lower than Calgary or Los Angeles, both of whom are battling for the 3rd in the Pacific slot.  We're after Winnipeg, who currently sits essentially 9 pts ahead of us while we only have 1 game in hand.

It's not completely hopeless yet.  It's just mostly hopeless, which, honestly, isn't much different.

Like I said, we only have 11 more games of Avalanche hockey before summer hits.  11 more games before Sakic and Roy have to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.  11 more games before cat gifs.  Soak these contests in, boys and girls, because the offseason is long and full of terrors.  Gotta enjoy burgundy and blue hockey while we can.

The first of these 11 games conveniently is happening tonight against one of the teams it looks like we're trying to catch but we really aren't because the new division format for playoffs is weird and slightly confusing, but I digress. Long story short, it's Calgary.  They're the ones we beat 9 days ago, but this time, we'll be at their (oddly shaped) barn instead of ours.  Seriously, the nosebleed sets in the Saddledome are kinda trippy.  And the press box hanging from the roof?  Don't even get me started.

Anyway, they're still without Giordano.  Gaudreau is still good, and Monahan is still boring (or at least still has an awesome parody twitter feed).  Iggy is still their former Captain, and as wonderful as he looks in burgundy, I'm not sure my brain has full processed the fact he no longer plays for Calgary.  David Jones is also still likely to score against us.  Yep.  All pretty par for the course.

One fun note - Jesse Winchester might play!  Which is cool!  The Curse of #18 decided that he can finally start his season... 71 games into it.  Well, better late than never!  Welcome, Jesse!  Also from the good news category, Hishon wasn't making the team anyway is close to return!  At the time of this writing, I've not heard if he's expected to play or not, but unfortunately, we have heard that EJ will not suit up this evening.  (sigh)  I was hoping he'd be cleared to play by his birthday, but no such luck.

However, since we're likely getting at least one new warm body into our lineup, I have no idea what sort of line blendering Roy is likely to do.  Landeskog and O'Reilly are likely to still be together; Iginla - Duchene - Mitchell still might be a thing; and Everberg, Tanguay, Cliche, McLeod, Briere, the two new guys, Winchester, and maybe Hishon will all be either playing the hockeyz or eating nachos.  Your guess is as good as mine as to who does what or plays where.  I've given up trying to stay current with that.  I have my rep as a lazy staff writer to maintain after all, and this season has already sapped what little motivation I had left.  So eh, whatever.  We'll see what happens.

The D is a bit more predictable, but listing it out just makes me sad.  So, let's just say it involves one Barrie, a lot of not-Barries, and a distressing lack of Condors and leave it at that.  Moving on.

Either way, I'm just going to try to enjoy this game, win or lose.  The Avs have been playing fun hockey of late at least.  So, let's go Avs... go do whatever it is you're going to do.  August is coming, so I'm just going to sit back and try to soak up the remnants of this lost season before it's too late.

Avalanche at Flames

7 PM MT Puck Drop
Altitude and TVA broadcast