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Avalanche Returns Home To Face Flames

Colorado plays one game at Pepsi Center before heading back on the road

by Miranda Einhorn / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche returns to Denver after two games on the road to play the Calgary Flames on Saturday. The Avalanche is 3-1-0 through the first four games of the 2018-19 campaign and is 20-4-1 in its last 25 games on home ice.

Colorado has a 55-51-10 all-time mark against the Flames, which includes a 27-12-15 record at home. The matchup will be the first of three meetings between the two Western Conference teams this season.

After this outing, the Avs head east for a four-game road trip against the New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers.

Last Time Out

Forwards Tyson Jost, Colin Wilson and Carl Soderberg opened the scoring for Colorado in the first period as the Avalanche topped the Buffalo Sabres 6-1 on Thursday. Buffalo defenseman Nathan Beaulieu tallied the only goal for his team at 17:05 of the second stanza but Nathan MacKinnon restored Colorado's three-goal lead less than a minute later. Alexander Kerfoot added a marker and MacKinnon recorded his second of the night in the third frame to seal the win. Mikko Rantanen finished with three points after registering assists on both of MacKinnon's tallies as well as helping with Jost's opening marker. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov stopped 30-of-31 shots, which brings him to a .955 save percentage for the current campaign.

The Flames fell 5-3 to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday. Calgary forward James Neal scored the first goal of the night, but the Blues netted five unanswered goals led by a hat trick from David Perron. Flames forwards Derek Ryan and Mikael Backlund scored in the third period to cut the Blues' lead by two. Calgary netminder Mike Smith made 19 saves on 24 shots before he was replaced by David Rittich who stopped all eight pucks sent his way.

Last Time They Met

The Avalanche defeated the Flames 5-2 at Pepsi Center in the teams' most recent clash on Feb. 28. The Flames netted the first two goals of the night but Colorado recorded four unanswered tallies in the second to earn the win. Tyson Barrie, Blake Comeau, Nathan MacKinnon and Carl Soderberg all had multi-point nights and goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves in net.

What To Watch

Special Teams

The Avalanche converted on two-of-four power plays on Thursday and is now 5-for-15 with the man advantage. The team has scored a power-play goal in each of the opening four outings of the season for the first time since 2009-10 (six games). In addition, Colorado's penalty kill went 7-for-7 against Buffalo and has posted a 94.7% kill rate in 19 shorthanded situations.

Streaking Avs

Colorado forwards Mikko Rantanen, Carl Soderberg, Nathan MacKinnon and Alexander Kerfoot have all registered points in every game so far this campaign. MacKinnon, in particular, has recorded at least one goal in each matchup to start the season, joining John Mitchell (2015-16) as the only Avalanche players to register a four-game goal streak to begin a season. MacKinnon's stretch is one shy of the franchise mark of five, set by the Quebec Nordiques' Mats Sundin in 1992-93.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Defenseman Samuel Girard

Girard notched an assist on Thursday to extend his point streak to a career-high three games and is tied for first on the team with a plus-5 rating. The 20-year-old defenseman registered 20 points (three goals, 17 assists) in 68 outings with Colorado last season.

Calgary: Left Wing Matthew Tkachuk

Tkachuk has registered a point in all four games this season, scoring a goal in his team's opener on Oct. 3 and adding six helpers in the next three outings. He stands tied for first on the Flames in both assists (six) and points (seven). The forward has notched at least 48 points in each of his first two NHL seasons.

The Details

Saturday night's matchup between the Avalanche and Flames is scheduled for 8 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude TV or streamed on select devices with the Altitude Now app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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