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Preview: Avs back in Saddledome

Colorado looks to bounce back with a victory over the next best team in the West.

NHL: Calgary Flames at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames will play for the final time this regular season tonight at the Saddledome. The Avalanche are coming off an emotional overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild, and the Flames have won two straight heading into this evening’s contest.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche are just two points away from amassing 100 total with 16 games remaining. They sit 10 points ahead of the Flames in the Western Conference and look to be on pace for securing a second consecutive president’s trophy.

If you remember, Cale Makar’s first NHL goal came against the Flames in game three of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Being from Calgary, Makar has always seemed to take his game to another level when playing the Flames.

Note: We will finally see forward Artturi Lehkonen in the lineup as the details of his work visa have been confirmed. Read more on the situation here: Artturi Lehkonen finally cleared to play

Projected Lineup

Valeri Nuchushkin - Nazem Kadri - Mikko Rantanen
Andre Burakovsky - JT Compher - Artturi Lehkonen
Alex Newhook - Nico Sturm - Logan O’Connor
Andrew Cogliano - Darren Helm - Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Jack Johnson - Cale Makar
Devon Toews - Josh Manson
Erik Johnson - Kurtis MacDermid

Update: Nathan MacKinnon will miss tonight’s game with an undisclosed upper-body injury.

Calgary Flames

The Flames will attempt to push their winning streak to three games tonight with a win over the Avalanche. These two squads have faced twice this year, with both teams winning one of those matchups. It will likely be a playoff matchup if both teams advance according to plan.

Projected Lineup

Johnny Gaudreau - Elias Lindholm - Matthew Tkachuk
Andrew Mangiapane - Mikael Backlund -Tyler Toffoli
Dillon Dube - Calle Jarnkrok - Blake Coleman
Milan Lucic - Ryan Carpenter - Trevor Lewis

Noah Hanifin - Rasmus Andersson
Oliver Kylington - Chris Tanev
Nikita Zadorov - Erik Gudbranson

Goaltenders

Since Darcy Kuemper got the nod against his former team in the Minnesota Wild, I assume we will see Pavel Francouz between the pipes for Colorado. Francouz is statistically among the best backups in the league and looks to secure the thirty-fourth win of his two-year career.

The Flames will likely go with Jacob Markstrom, who has started in fifty-one of Calgary’s sixty-five games. He currently has a GAA of 2.16 and a .925 sv%.