Who: Calgary Flames (6-8-2)
When: Tonight, 9:00PM EST/7:00PM MDT
Your Starting Goalies: COL – J.S. Giguere (4-0-0), CGY – Reto Berra (1-2-0)
The Dangermen: Jiri Hudler might be one of the hottest forwards in the entire league right now. He has five goals, five assists in his last four games and enters Friday night’s matchup having scored in back-to-back games. He has 17 points in 16 games this year so far.
Also having a pretty good year is rookie, sixth-overall pick Sean Monahan. He leads the team in goals with seven and sits behind only Hudler on the team scoring list with 11. He doesn’t look out of place so far and his success early has got to feel good for Flames management, as the team has a less-than-stellar track record with draft prospects.
Mike Cammalleri has also come on strong of late, with all five of his goals in the last nine games. He missed time to start the year, but he’s back and looking strong. It should only be a matter of time before he joins Hudler and Monahan at the top of the team scoring charts.
After that, there’s not much left. Injuries have hurt this team – Matt Stajan has missed time, Lee Stempniak is out, defenseman Mark Giordano is out – and they didn’t have the depth to spare.
The Defenders: This group was much better with the aforementioned Giordano in the lineup. He had seven assists and nine points in eight games before going down to injury after blocking a shot.
Still, Dennis Wideman is having a strong offensive season. He’s second on the team with nine assists and is the only defenseman in double-digits in points. Kris Russell is another mobile, offensive defender as his eight points would indicate.
Regardless of who’s on the ice, this group is not good on the road. They have a Western Conference worst 3.7 goals per game allowed on the road this year and the Avalanche are coming off a home loss, looking to avenge. Not a good combo.
Puck Stoppers Inc.: For the last forever or so, this would be where I would talk about Mikka Kiprusoff, but he’s retired now and it still feels weird.
This has been goaltender by committee so far. It was Joey MacDonald first, but he was bad. Like 3.17 GAA and sub-.900 save percentage bad. Then it was Karri Ramo, who had an even worse GAA (3.49) and a slightly better save percentage (.888).
Now, it’s Reto Berra who started the year in Abbottsford. He’s 1-2-0 with a 3.33 GAA and .895 save percentage. Goaltending: the Flames don’t has it. And as stated above, this team is even worse on the road when it comes to giving goals up. This spells doom for the Flames all around.
How the Avs match up: Let’s see – a high scoring, high energy team getting a struggling bottom feeder who gives up the most goals in the conference when on the road? Hmmmm.
The Avalanche should have no excuse tonight. Come out with energy, play your game, and the red lamp should light itself. The Flames are starting their third goaltender with a sub-.900 save percentage. SCORE GOALS.
The defense is a little thinner thanks to Ryan Wilson’s injury, but against a team like this, it shouldn’t matter as long as they keep Hudler and Monahan in check.
Key Matchup: Avs vs apathy
Cower in fear if: Jiri Hudler continues to do his best Human Torch impression.
The Avs are flat and disinterested.
Another injury besets the defensemen.
Laugh maniacally if: Giguere is boredly making snow angels in his crease.
STAY OUT OF THE DAMN BOX.
Others join in on the Matt Duchene video game tour.
Silly predictions: P.A. Parenteau scores a pair; Jamie McGinn returns with a goal; Giguere is sharp again in a relatively easy effort; Andre Benoit finally gets a power play goal.
Final: 4-1 Avs
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