The Avalanche's road trip through the Western Conference Canadian teams hits the third of four stops tonight with a game at Calgary versus the Flames. Colorado let a third period lead turn into a loss for the umpteenth time this season on Saturday in Winnipeg, and then earned a solid victory in Vancouver against the Canucks. They'll head to the other side of Alberta on Sunday to play the Oilers before going back to Denver.
Prior games between the Flames and Avalanche this season have seen a dominating performance from each team. Way back on November 3rd, the Avalanche cruised to a 6-3 victory victory with multi-goal games from Matt Duchene and ex-Flame Jarome Iginla. Then in the Avalanche's first game of the 2016 calendar year, they played one of their worst games of the season and were shut out by Calgary by the tune of 4-0. The Avalanche will look to take the rubber game and season series, but more importantly earn two needed points to bolster their playoff cushion as the end of the regular season looms near.
This will be the final game captain Gabriel Landeskog is suspended after his unnecessary roughness towards Simon Dsepres of the Ducks on March 9th. Chris Bigras has a chance to return to the lineup tonight after being sidelined for a few games with a concussion. There were rumors he would be able to take the ice in Vancouver, but Coach Patrick Roy opted to give him a couple more days to recover and have the chance to be 100% for this game. No word as of this writing whether Bigras will be a go.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Flames have seen their chances at a second straight postseason trip fizzle and are trying to hurry their way towards what has become a disappointing season. Eleven points behind the Avalanche for the second wild card berth and seventeen points behind San Jose for the third automatic berth out of the Pacific division, the Flames have come back down to earth after they're surprisingly successful 2014-15 campaign that saw them reach the second round of the playoffs. Young superstar Johnny Gaudreau has had another very successful year with 26 goals and 44 assists, but is dragging his team with him while Sean Monahan, who is 2nd for the Flames in points, is a whole 18 points behind Gaudreau.
-Thanks to the Devils' 7-4 shellacking of the Wild on Thursday night, the Avalanche are a point ahead of Minnesota, and before this game is played, do not have to worry about the Wild having games in hand over the Avs.
-With a goal tonight, Matt Duchene can become the first Avalanche player to score 30 goals in a season since Joe Sakic did it in 06-07.
-Jarome Iginla will look to score his first goal in the Saddleback Dome as a member of a team other than the Flames. Since he was traded from the Flames to the Penguins three years ago, he has failed to score a goal with the visiting team in three previous attempts with the Bruins and Avs.
Mikhail Grigorenko - Matt Duchene- Jarome Iginla
Mikkel Boedker- Nathan MacKinnon- Blake Comeau
Andreas Martinsen- Carl Soderberg- Shawn Matthias
Cody McLeod- John Mitchell- Jack Skille
Francois Beauchemin- Erik Johnson
Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie
Eric Gelinas- Bodnarchuk/Bigras