Flames-Avalanche Preview

An inability to win close games has plagued the Calgary Flames

during their current losing streak. It’s also a big reason why they

have struggled with the Colorado Avalanche of late.

The Flames look to avoid a fifth consecutive loss when they

visit the Avalanche on Tuesday night.

Three of Calgary’s defeats during its four-game skid have been

decided by one goal – including 2-1 margins in each of the last two


The Flames (6-7-0), who last lost five straight during a

nine-game skid Jan. 11-28, have four goals over the last three


“We need to get out of this,” coach Brent Sutter said. “We need

to find ways to win games, not find ways to lose games. We’ve got

to get on the other side of that again.”

Calgary has lost seven of nine against the Avalanche (7-5-1),

with the last eight decided by one goal – including 6-5 at home to

begin the skid Oct. 28. The Flames’ last two victories in the

series, however, have come in their last two trips to the Pepsi


“As a group we know we have the team here,” forward Matt Stajan

told the Flames’ official website. “We know we have to play a full

game. We know we can’t take shifts off. We can sit here and talk

all we want but have to go out and do it.”

Though goals have been hard to come by for the Flames of late,

five players scored against the Avalanche last month. Stajan,

Niklas Hagman and Olli Jokinen each had a goal and an assist in

that contest but have combined for one goal the last three


Jokinen has six goals in his last nine games against


Calgary needs star Jarome Iginla to get on track. A 30-goal

scorer each of the last nine seasons, Iginla has two this season

and none in his last five games against Colorado.

Miikka Kiprusoff, who stopped 21 shots in Friday’s defeat at

Minnesota, has a 3.49 goals-against average while losing his last

three starts. He had the night off against Colorado last month

after snapping a five-game skid to the Avalanche with 35 saves in a

2-1 win at Colorado on April 2.

Peter Budaj stopped 14 shots last month to win his third

straight start over Calgary. Budaj made 31 saves in a 5-0 home win

over Dallas on Saturday to improve to 3-1-1 with a 2.61 GAA since

taking over for injured starter Craig Anderson.

“Every time you win a game and on top of that you get the

shutout, you feel great, you feel confident,” Budaj said.

Leading scorer Chris Stewart, who has been held without a point

the last two games, had a hat trick at Calgary. Stewart has five

goals and three assists in his last five contests against the


Milan Hejduk, who had an assist at Calgary, has four goals and

nine assists in his last eight games.