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Heating Up: Avalanche Hits The Road To Take on the Flames

Colorado begins a back-to-back at Calgary on Thursday

by Miranda Einhorn / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche (7-3-2) takes on the Calgary Flames (7-5-1) on Thursday for the second time this season. The game marks the first of two outings the Avs will play at Scotiabank Sattledome in Calgary.

The Avalanche has a 55-51-11 all-time mark against the Flames (since 1995-96), including a 26-27-4 mark on the road.

After the contest, Colorado heads to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday to finish its three-game road stretch and complete a back-to-back.

Last Time Out

The Avalanche fell 3-2 to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday in the seventh game the team had played in 12 days. Colorado defenseman Mark Barberio tallied his first goal of the season assisted by Vladislav Kamenev, who picked up his first NHL point. Barberio was joined on the score sheet by captain Gabriel Landeskog, who received helpers from Mikko Rantanen and Tyson Barrie. Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves for the Avs.

The Flames beat the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 in overtime on Tuesday. Sabres center Jack Eichel and Calgary left wing Matthew Tkachuk traded goals in regulation to send the game into an extra frame. Johnny Gaudreau scored at 2:40 of overtime to give the Flames the win against the Sabres. Calgary outshot Buffalo 38-29.

Last Time They Met                                   

The Flames beat the Avalanche 3-2 in overtime in the first meeting between the clubs this campaign. Nathan MacKinnon scored 11 seconds into the first period and was soon followed by J.T. Compher. Colorado held the Flames scoreless until midway through the second period when Sam Bennett cut the lead in half. Calgary forward Elias Lindholm tied the game in the third and Johnny Gaudreau ended the night, tallying 46 seconds into overtime. Varlamov made 38-of-41 saves as the Flames outshot Colorado 41-26.

What To Watch

Top Line

The Avs' top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen have a combined 55 points to start 2018-19, the most of any line in the NHL. All three individually rank in the top 10 in league scoring so far, with Rantanen standing at first (21), MacKinnon tied for fourth (18) and Landeskog tied for eighth (16). Rantanen and Landeskog lead the league with a plus-14 rating and MacKinnon is a close third at plus-12. Rantanen scored three goals and four assists over the week that ended on Oct. 28, earning him the title of NHL's Third Star of the Week. Landeskog earned First Star the week prior.

Rested Avs

Coming off of a busy two weeks in which the Avalanche played seven games in 12 days, the team was able to get some rest and practice without a clash for four days. The quieter stretch allowed Colorado to refresh and reset going into the upcoming back-to-back stint. The team will have four days to rest after Friday.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Goaltender Semyon Varlamov

Varlamov has started in eight of the 12 games Colorado has played this season and leads the league with a .950 save percentage (minimum four games played). His 1.62 goals-against average ranks him at first in the Western Conference and second in the NHL.

Calgary: Left Wing Johnny Gaudreau

After scoring his league-leading (tied) second overtime game-winning goal of the season on Tuesday, Gaudreau ranks first on his team with 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 13 games. The forward has notched at least one point in the past three games.

Lineup Notes

Semyon Varlamov will start in net on Thursday for Colorado. At practice on Wednesday, Vladislav Kamenev was moved to a line with Colin Wilson and Alexander Kerfoot and the trio is expected to play together.

The Details

Thursday night's matchup between the Avalanche and Flames is scheduled for 7 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 AM 950 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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