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At the Rink blog

Avalanche hope to snap skid against Flames

Saturday, 11.12.2011 / 3:27 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

DENVER – Seven has been anything but a lucky digit for the Colorado Avalanche, which has lost that many times in succession to the Calgary Flames since a 6-5 win on Oct. 28, 2010.
   
“We need to win. We owe them big time,” Avalanche defenseman Kyle Quincey said of tonight’s meeting at the Pepsi Center.
   
The Flames won the final five games between the teams last season and defeated the Avalanche in the first two games this year, most recently a 2-1 victory last Sunday that was decided on a Curtis Glencross power-play goal in the second period.
   
Penalty killing has been a major sore spot for the Avalanche, which has allowed 13 goals in 30 short-handed situations (56.7 percent) in the past nine games.
   
“Our penalty kill is nowhere near good enough,” defenseman Shane O’Brien said. “We know that. It’s not for lack of preparation. It just comes down to us being more committed and paying the price. You have to take pride in killing penalties and I think we’ll get it back on track. It’s not a glamorous job, but it’s something you have to do to win hockey games.”
   
The Avalanche, which turned a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 overtime win against the New York Islanders on Thursday, hasn’t won back-to-back games since ripping off a five-game winning streak on the road from Oct. 10-17.
   
The Flames lost 4-1 in Chicago on Friday and have dropped three of their past four games while scoring a total of four goals. They have gone 1-for-12 on power plays in this stretch, the lone power-play goal coming in the win against Colorado.
   
The return of center Mikael Backlund from a broken finger could give the Flames a much-needed spark. He made his season debut Friday and is anchoring the top line with Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round