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Flames-Avs: From the morning skate

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
After dropping three straight games, the Calgary Flames are heading into tonight's divisional battle with the Colorado Avalanche with a n

"We dug ourselves a bit of a hole. We let some teams get back in the hunt," said Rene Bourque. "This is obviously a big game for us. We need to get two points. There's really no other way to explain it."

The Avalanche have been basement dwellers for a good chunk of the season but the Flames aren't taking their opponents lightly.

"They've been in tough since a little before the deadline but the had a pretty strong game last night," Bourque stated. "They gave up a lead in the third. They're still capable of winning games.

"We need to get points, it doesn't matter who we're playing. We have to be ready and focused to win."

Blueliner Cory Sarich admitted it was tough not to watch what other teams in the conference were doing on the nightly basis but said the team has to keep them mindset on one thing: how they're playing as a team.

"I think the biggest thing is you go in and concentrate on working hard. That's probably been said before and beaten to death but we've gotten away from it. I think if you go out there and do that, the rest is going to fall into place.

"We've done such a good job for the last few months, just focusing on the task at hand. That's slipped a little bit so it's something we need to concentrate on. It doesn't matter what's going on around us, we need to focus on what's happening in the room."

The Flames will have a new face in the lineup tonight as Ales Kotalik will play his first game since being recalled earlier in the week. The winger had great success in Abbotsford, notching 19 points in 18 games. He noted that he was playing in a completely different scenario with the Heat but hopes he can bring some of that success to Calgary

"Playing a different position, different role and different minutes so that's where the success comes from. Right now, it's not about any hard feelings from what happened in the past. We can talk about it after the season but right now, this is the situation where the team needs to win. I'm willing to do anything possible to help the team wins."

Freddy Modin once again did not skate with the team this morning and is not expected to play.

Predicted Flames lines:

Tanguay - Backlund - Iginla
Bourque - Jokinen - Glencross
Kotalik - Stajan - Jackman
Kostopoulos - Bouma - Hagman

Regehr - Bouwmeester
Giordano - Sarich
Babchuk - Staios

Fun facts:

10 of the past 13 games against the Avalanche have been decided by a single goal.

The last time these two met, Calgary thumped Colorado by a score of 9-1. Olli Jokinen had four points in the first period, tying a record for points for a Flame in a single period. Al MacInnis also completed this feat on Mar. 28, 1991 against the Oilers.

Alex Tanguay is 5th in NHL shooting percentage, scoring on 18.2% of his shots.
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