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Scouting Report: Colorado Avalanche

by Jason Johnson / Calgary Flames



CALGARY, AB
-- The Colorado Avalanche come into Calgary in search of two critical points.

The Avs currently hold the final Western Conference Wild Card spot in a two-horse race that also includes the Minnesota Wild. Each team has 11 games left on the docket and Colorado has a one point edge. The Avalanche have 76 points with the Wild nipping at their heels with 75 points.

The Avs are fresh off a 3-1 triumph over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday while the Calgary Flames enjoyed a convincing 4-1 win over the visiting Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday. It was Calgary's second straight win and Friday's tilt against the Avs will conclude a six-game homestand.

Colorado's win in Vancouver came after the Avs rallied for three straight markers after falling behind 1-0 in the first period. Colorado's attack was fueled by a two-goal effort from Mikkel Boedker, who was acquired by the Avalanche at the trade deadline from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for forward Alex Tanguay, and prospects Conner Bleackley and Kyle Wood.

“It means nothing. There’s a lot of hockey to be played,” head coach Patrick Roy cautioned. “We’re going to take it one game at a time. We did what we had to do tonight. Now we’re going to have to refocus for Calgary. That’s what good teams [do]. Good teams are capable of refocusing and getting their game ready for the next challenge. Our next challenge will be in Calgary.”

Colorado will likely go with Semyon Varlamov in goal against the Flames. The 27-year-old turned aside 29 shots in Vancouver for his 25th win of the season.

“Vancouver is a good team, same as usual. They’ve got great players, really good goaltending,” Varlamov told ColoradoAvalanche.com. “I think Miller played outstanding (on Wednesday). He had lots of great saves, and he kept the game [close]. We always have a hard time [playing] here, but I’m really happy we won today, and we got the two points.

“I feel like playoffs starts for us right now, and it’s going to be interesting. I’m looking forward to playing against Calgary. It’s going to be another big one.”

This will be the final meeting between the two clubs this season. The Avs took the first game of the season series with a decisive 6-3 victory over the Flames in Calgary on Nov. 3. Calgary returned the favour blanking the Avs 4-0 at Pepsi Center to break in the New Year on Jan. 2.

Tyson Barrie, Jarome Iginla and Nathan MacKinnon all lead the Avalanche in scoring against the Flames this year with three points each. Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie and Sam Bennett all have two points against the Avs.

BREAKING DOWN THE AVALANCHE

Record: 36-31-4

Power Play: 19.3 percent overall (45 goals scored in 233 chances with the man advantage), 16.2 percent on the road (19 goals scored in 117 chances with the man advantage)

Penalty Kill: 81.6 percent overall (41 goals allowed in 223 times being short-handed), 79.3 percent on the road (24 goals allowed in 116 times being short-handed)

2015-16 Record vs. the Flames: 1-1-0

2014-15 Record vs. the Flames: 1-1-1

Notable Injuries: Chris Bigras (concussion) did not play against the Canucks on Wednesday.

Who's HOT: Matt Duchene

Matt Duchene is racking up the points this season.

The 25-year-old has 56 points in 71 games this season and has set a career-high in goals, with 29. Duchene is coming into Calgary riding a four-game point streak and has 8 points in his last seven games.

Honourable Mention: Jarome Iginla

The former Flames' star has been on fire since the calendar flipped to February. The 38-year-old has 17 points in his last 18 games and has only been held pointless in three of his last 13 games.

Iginla, who currently sits with 19 goals, is poised to hit the 20-goal plateau for the 17th time in his career. He also continues to climb the NHL all-time scoring leaders list. He is currently in 36th spot with 1,268 points and inching closer to Al MacInnis, who retired with 1,274 points.

Who's NOT: Tyson Barrie

The 24-year-old has had an outstanding season racking up 45 points in 67 skates but has failed to find the scoresheet in five straight contests.

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