The Colorado Avalanche have come home and are prepared to face the Calgary Flames at Ball Arena in Denver, CO. The Flames arrive in the mile-high city on the second of a back-to-back after betting the Dallas Stars 7-4 yesterday. Colorado just beat the Minnesota Wild last night as well, so both teams will have to get all four lines going if they want to avoid tired legs.
The Avalanche seemed to control the pace of play throughout last night’s victory over the Wild. The score sheet says it was close, but the Avs would have won more concisely if not for a few mistakes. Alexandar Georgiev was excellent, and Kurtis MacDermid secured the game-winning goal in the third period. Yeah, you read that right!
I’m hoping the Avalanche win, but I’m also hoping they stop participating in penalty-riddled periods. In particular, it feels like the Avalanche are finding themselves in the box during the middle frame. Keep an eye on that.
With the Sam Girard news, keep an eye on Caleb Jones and the Avalanche penalty kill, as they have to adjust the D group. Speaking of defenders, Nikita Zadorov has been openly critical of his Flames coaches and is rumored to want out of Calgary. Is there potentially a reunion on the horizon?
I can’t go without mentioning Val Nichushkin’s six-game goal streak. Big Val cannot be stopped; he can only be contained as of late. Can he log his seventh tonight?
Valeri Nuchshkin — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Jonathan Drouin — Ryan Johansen — Riley Tufte
Miles Wood — Ross Colton — Joel Kiviranta
Andrew Cogliano — Fredrik Olofsson — Joel Kiviranta
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Bo Byram — Josh Manson
Jack Johnson — Caleb Jones
Note: Tomas Tatar was a healthy scratch last night, with Riley Tufte getting time with the second line. I wonder if we see him slotted back in to give someone a night’s rest.
The Flames are a solid team and should be a tough out on a nightly basis. That said, they started slowly, leading to some exciting soundbites and controversy in Calgary. They have won four of their last six contests and seem to be turning a corner. This should prove a tough test for the Avalanche.
We will see Nazem Kadri again in a Calgary kit. One can’t help but wonder if he wishes he’d taken whatever the Avalanche offered when he was a free agent. He is on the Flames’ third line and hasn’t been the same point producer since leaving Colorado. At least he got his bread.
Andrew Mangiapane — Elias Lindholm — Yegor Sharangovich
Jonathan Huberdeau — Mikael Backlund — Blake Coleman
Connor Zary — Nazem Kadri — Martin Pospisil
A.J. Greer — Adam Ruzicka — Dillon Dube
MacKenzie Weegar — Rasmus Andersson
Noah Hanifin — Chris Tanev
Nikita Zadorov — Dennis Gilbert
With Goergiev playing last night, it will be Ivan Prosvetov for Colorado. It’s the same situation for the Flames, who went with Jacob Markstrom getting the start last night. With that, it will be Daniel Vladar for Calgary.