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Flames at Avalanche preview

Rittich to make first start for Calgary; Colorado stays with Bernier in goal

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

FLAMES (12-9-1) at AVALANCHE (11-8-2)

10 p.m. ET; ALT, CBC, NHL.TV 

 

The Game

Rookie goaltender David Rittich will make his season debut for the Calgary Flames, who will try to end a two-game losing streak when they visit the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Saturday. The Flames had an optional morning skate following a 6-4 loss at the Dallas Stars on Friday, and are 7-3-1 in their past 11 games.

Rittich, 25, was recalled Friday from Stockton of the American Hockey League, where he was 5-1-0 with two shutouts, a 2.17 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.

Goaltender Jonathan Bernier will make his fourth consecutive start for the Avalanche, who open a five-game homestand. Bernier made 25 saves Friday in a 3-2 shootout loss against the Minnesota Wild. He's 2-0-1 in his past three starts with one shutout, a 1.60 goals-against average and .937 save percentage.

 

Players to watch

Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau has 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in his past 12 games, with at least one point in 11 of them. He's tied with Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov for second among NHL scorers with 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) in 22 games.

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in his past 11 games, with at least one point in eight of them. He has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in his past five home games.

 

They said it

"We're a good team, we believe that we're a good team, and we believe in one another. We believe in the group that we have on the ice. We know that we can do it. We just have to go out there and do it and execute." -- Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic

"We like the way we've played at home. We've got to take advantage of this stretch here because after that it gets tough on the road." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar

 

Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Micheal Ferland

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Sam Bennett -- Mark Jankowski -- Jaromir Jagr

Kris Versteeg -- Curtis Lazar -- Troy Brouwer

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Travis Hamonic

Brett Kulak -- Michael Stone

David Rittich

Mike Smith

Scratched: Matt Bartkowski, Freddie Hamilton, Matt Stajan

Injured: None

 

Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Colin Wilson -- Alexander Kerfoot -- J.T. Compher

Matt Nieto -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

Sven Andrighetto -- Dominic Toninato -- Nail Yakupov

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Andrei Mironov -- Tyson Barrie

Nikita Zadorov -- Mark Barberio

Jonathan Bernier

Andrew Hammond

Scratched: Chris Bigras, Gabriel Bourque

Injured: Vladislav Kamenev (broken arm), Anton Lindholm (broken jaw), Patrik Nemeth (lower body), Semyon Varlamov (illness) 

 

Status report

Varlamov took part in an optional morning skate Saturday and will miss his fourth consecutive game. He is expected to be well enough to start against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday.

 

Stat pack

The Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland line has combined for 72 points (34 goals, 38 assists) ... Colorado is 7-1-1 at home and has won five consecutive games at Pepsi Center by a combined score of 25-11.

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