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Avalanche-Flames Preview @NHLdotcom

Colorado's recent slump has tightened things up in the competitive Northwest Division, so the Avalanche should be very happy to see the Calgary Flames next on the schedule.

The Avs (11-7-1) look to avoid a third straight loss Tuesday when they face the division rival Flames (8-9-3), whom Colorado has beaten seven straight times.

The Avalanche surged into contention this season with a 6-1 stretch, but have since lost three of four. Colorado fell out of the top spot in the Northwest with Sunday's 4-1 defeat to Minnesota, which moved past the Avs by a point.

Colorado has managed one goal in each of its last three losses, and has been outscored 10-2 in its last two games. The Avalanche haven't dropped three in a row this season.

"The last two games, from our side, are probably the worst two games of the year. I don't have an explanation for it," said forward Milan Hejduk, who scored against the Wild.

The Avs' last three defeats have come on the road, where Colorado is 2-6-0, compared to 9-1-0 at the Pepsi Center. Colorado, though, hopes to take advantage of a Calgary team it's dominated lately regardless of where the teams have met.

Colorado's seven consecutive victories in the series include two at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The Avalanche's last loss to the Flames was 5-2 at Calgary on Feb. 17, but Colorado won the previous meeting 7-5 on Feb. 15 on the road.

Colorado has taken the first three matchups this season, most recently defeating the Flames 4-1 at Denver on Nov. 5.

Calgary is also coming off a loss, 4-1 to Vancouver on Sunday that prevented it from winning three straight for the first time in 2006-07. The Flames lost five in a row before the two straight victories and are struggling to keep pace in the division.

Calgary outshot the Canucks 30-21 but went scoreless on the power play for the second straight game.

"The word to use would be inconsistency," Calgary coach Mike Keenan said. "We have a good power-play night and a bad penalty-killing night and we flip flop, or great goaltending and then not the best."

Keenan may have been referring to Miikka Kiprusoff, who stopped just 17 shots for Calgary. Keenan is known for leaning heavily on his No. 1 goalie, and Kiprusoff has played every game this season, but he's 0-4-2 with a 3.74 goals-against average in his last six games against the Avs.

Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr is uncertain for this game after taking a puck off the side of his head Sunday. He was to be re-evaluated Monday.

Colorado forward Paul Stastny has two goals and three assists this season against Calgary, while linemate Wojtek Wolski has a goal and four assists in the three games.

The clubs meet again Saturday at the Pepsi Center.

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