The Colorado Avalanche took home a disappointing shootout loss on Friday afternoon, falling in the skills competition against Alex Stalock and the Minnesota Wild.
Now, they’ll have to rebound and play again tonight- but luckily, the team they’re facing should be just as tired.
The Calgary Flames fell 6-4 last night against the Dallas Stars, with Mike Smith finally looking human (or, for fans of Arizona, like he has for the past five years) in net for the Alberta-based team.
It’s two teams going back-to-back. So... who’s going to come out on top?
Starting goalie: Jonathan Bernier
It’s another night for Jonathan Bernier, which means he’s going to be truly tested after nearly two full seasons separating him from his last true starting gig.
Last night, he posted a .926 save percentage in all situations, stopping 25 of 27 shots and keeping the team in the game through to the shootout.
Unfortunately, this is going to be his fourth straight start in a week, and we haven’t seen him handle that kind of workload since his Toronto days. It’s still up in the air just how he’ll be able to face down Calgary, who remain an offensively fun team.
Starting goalie: David Rittich
Sean Monahan managed two of Calgary’s four goals and three points in total on Friday night, so look for him to continue his hot streak as he faces Colorado tonight.
The rest of Calgary has been optimistically good this year, but look for two key problems:
The first is that their defensive corps haven’t been quite as good as advertised. The lineup looks powerful on paper, but has been struggling to insulate their goaltenders - which, while it’s worked out for the most part for Mike Smith, didn’t exactly pan out for Eddie Lack.
Which, of course, brings us to the team’s second problem - they’ll be starting goaltender David Rittich, who has just one NHL appearance to his name so far.
With a .931 save percentage for the Stockton Heat this year, he looks to be a viable option, but Rittich remains a somewhat unknown entity out of the Czech Republic. The Flames wanted to give Mike Smith a rest, but it may come at the expense of having some reassurance in net.
HOW TO WATCH
Tonight is a late game, with puck drop at 8:00 PM MST in Denver. You can catch the game on Altitude.