Flames-Avalanche Preview

The Calgary Flames may be at the bottom of the Northwest

Division, but the Colorado Avalanche haven’t been able to solve


The struggling Flames look to earn their eighth straight win

over the Avalanche overall and their seventh in a row in Denver on

Saturday night in these clubs’ third meeting of 2011-12.

Calgary (6-8-1) has the second-fewest points in the Western

Conference, and fell 4-1 at Chicago on Friday. The Flames have

totaled four goals while losing three of their last four games.

“We had our opportunities and we never capitalized on them,”

coach Brent Sutter said. “Five-on-five we had a couple breakdowns

that cost us two goals. That’s the outcome of the game.”

Miikka Kiprusoff made 27 saves in the loss. He’s posted a 1.52

goals-against average, however, while winning his last eight starts

against Colorado (8-7-1), and has yielded a total of six goals

while prevailing in his last five outings at the Pepsi Center.

All seven consecutive victories over the Avalanche for the

Flames have come with Kiprusoff in goal since backup Henrik

Karlsson made his lone start against Colorado in a 6-5 loss Oct.

28, 2010.

The Avalanche have lost three times by one goal over the last

seven meetings, and two other times have fallen by two only after

conceding empty-net tallies.

Colorado may be feeling a little better about itself after

rallying from three goals down in the second period Thursday for a

4-3 overtime win over the lowly New York Islanders. Kyle Quincey

scored on the power play in the extra session.

“It definitely wasn’t our best hockey the first two periods. But

sometimes that is the way it goes,” right wing David Jones said.

“Put pucks to the net and find a way to win, especially at


Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere improved to 3-1-0 with a

2.22 GAA after he made 30 saves.

“We showed a lot of leadership. Guys were speaking up on the

bench and we weren’t accepting being down,” Giguere said. “It

wasn’t pretty in the second period, but we found a way to get our

energy and get our legs under us. When we scored that big goal it

gave us a lot of energy.”

Giguere’s lone loss of the season came at Calgary on Oct. 26,

his third straight defeat to the Flames.

Semyon Varlamov could get the start Saturday, though he’s

struggled recently. He’s 0-3-1 with a 4.29 GAA in four games this

month, and 1-5-0 with a 2.36 GAA in six starts at home this


Avalanche center Peter Mueller has not played since Oct. 12 due

to a head injury, but he could return Saturday after taking part in

Thursday’s morning skate.

“All we can do is stay patient with him,” coach Joe Sacco said.

“He’ll get back in that lineup pretty soon.”

Despite its mediocre record, Colorado owns the league’s best

power play at 29.6 percent. Erik Johnson is among the league

leaders with eight assists with the man advantage.

Avs center Paul Stastny has 13 goals and 36 points in 32 career

games against the Flames, his highest totals against any team.