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Avs go for Alberta sweep at Calgary @NHLdotcom

AVALANCHE (9-1-2) at FLAMES (7-2-1)

Last 10 -- Avalanche 7-1-2: Flames 7-2-1.

Season series -- This is the first of six meetings between the teams this season. Calgary beat Colorado four times in 2008-09, although the Avs won the final two games. In their most recent meeting on Feb. 2, Colorado skated away with a 4-3 victory behind a pair of goals by Marek Svatos.

Big Story
-- You can certainly make the case that Colorado is the biggest story in the NHL right now. After earning only 69 points in 2008-09, the Avs already have nine wins and the most points in the NHL (20). If this keeps up, Joe Sacco will have the Jack Adams Award wrapped up by the start of the New Year.

Team Scope:

Avalanche -- With Tuesday's 3-0 win in Edmonton, the Avs are now 5-0-2 in their last seven road games. They are doing everything right, beginning with No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson, who has been worth every penny since signing with the club back in July. He made 25 saves against the Oilers and has started every game this season.

Flames -- Calgary is off to a solid start under new coach Brent Sutter and trail only the Avs in the Northwest Division standings. The Flames are coming off a 5-2 victory against Edmonton on Saturday night, their third win a row. They are 5-0 within the division.

"These points are huge, especially early in the season," Calgary forward Rene Bourque said. "It's going to be a long climb for some teams that are starting out slowly. It's hard to get points later in the year."

Who's hot -- Anderson has easily been one of the top goalies in the League thus far this season. The U.S.-born netminder picked up his ninth win and second shutout of the season on Tuesday night in his 25-save effort at Rexall Place. Wojtek Wolski scored twice in the victory and now has a team-high seven goals.

For the Flames, Bourque is off to a remarkable start. The 27-year-old, who had 40 points in 58 games last season, already has a team-high 14 (5 goals, 9 assists) in 10 contests this time around. Miikka Kiprusoff is 7-1-1 with a 3.10 goals-against average.

Injury report -- Avs goalie Peter Budaj is out with the H1N1 flu. Colorado forwards Darcy Tucker (concussion) and Cody McLeod (eye) and defenseman Ruslan Salei (back) are on injured reserve. Defenseman John-Michael Liles is out with a shoulder injury but could return next week. Tom Preissing, another defenseman, is recovering from knee surgery but could return within two weeks. The Flames are boasting a healthy lineup.

Stat pack -- Matt Duchene, the third pick in the 2009 Entry Draft, was held off the score sheet on Tuesday night, but he does have a goal and five assists in his first 12 NHL games. … Calgary is 9-0 over the past five seasons when it returns to the ice following three days between games.

Puck drop -- With each passing game, the Avalanche are gaining confidence and proving to the rest of the League that this 9-1-2 start is legitimate. Wolski was unsure at the start just what the Avs could accomplish this season, but these days, the sky's the limit.

"Maybe at the beginning, it was," Wolski said when asked if he was surprised by Colorado's start. "Beating San Jose and Vancouver right off the bat … (those are) two very good teams. We heard so much about how good they were that we were very surprised to beat them. But then after that, we gained a lot of confidence and realized that we are a young team, but we've got a lot of energy and a lot of attention to detail and great goaltending. We just know we have to keep working hard."

-- Brian Compton,

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