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Avs try to stay perfect on the road in Calgary

by Sergei J. Feldman
AVALANCHE (6-2-0) at FLAMES (2-4-1)


Season Series : This is the first of six get-togethers between the Northwest Division opponents. Last season, the Flames won five games in a row against the Avalanche after dropping Game 1 of their six-game series.

Big Story: The Avalanche has been one of the NHL's biggest surprises through the early going, while the Flames are still trying to find their stride. The Avs come to Scotiabank Saddledome sitting atop the Northwest Division with the Flames at the bottom.

Team Scope:

Avalanche : The Avs are the NHL's road warriors. They've lost both of their home games but are a perfect 6-0-0 on the road, including a 5-4 shootout win in Chicago on Saturday, atoning for a 3-1 home loss to the Hawks two nights earlier. Two of the goals on Saturday came off the stick of rookie Gabriel Landeskog, who has done nothing but impress in his first season.

The Avs have enjoyed their time away from Denver so far.

"It's always nice to be on the road with the boys," defenseman Shane O'Brien said. "We've got a good group of guys in here. Everyone gets along with everyone. They have fun coming to the rink. Right now, we're road warriors, so we're going to try to continue that."

Flames: While Colorado plays its seventh road game against just two at home, Calgary is in the midst of a six-game homestand -- but the Flames aren't doing a good enough job of turning those home games into points. After starting with a 2-1 win over Edmonton, the Flames lost 3-2 in overtime to the Rangers and 2-0 to Nashville on Saturday.

"It's frustrating when you lose games where you feel that you should have won," defenseman Mark Giordano said. "I feel like we're going in the right direction. The last couple of games have been pretty solid for our team. I think the next step is getting those wins."

Who's Hot: For the Avs, young center Ryan O'Reilly has delivered of late to the tune of six points in his past five games. .. The Flames have relied on the point-per-game contributions from Alex Tanguay, who has amassed five points in his past five outings, including two multi-point nights.

Injury Report : Center Mikael Backlund is out for the Flames until around mid-November with a finger injury, while the Avs will be without the services of Peter Mueller, who is day-to-day with a head injury, Brandon Yip (broken forearm) and Mark Oliver (head).

Stat Pack: Calgary has just one point in its last two games despite outshooting the opposition 68-45. The Flames allowed just 14 shots in the loss to Nashville on Saturday.

Puck Drop: One player who hasn't been producing for Colorado is center Matt Duchene, the third player taken in the 2009 Entry Draft. He's had his ice time cut -- he got just 11:35 against the Hawks on Saturday -- and is skating with new wings, Joakim Lindstrom and Chuck Kobasew.

"I'm just focusing on the right things now," said Duchene, who has just one goal in eight games. "It's going to come. I have to start doing the little things. I focus sometimes on bigger things rather than focusing on the process. If I do that, I'll be fine."

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