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Flames at Avalanche preview

Kadri set for first game with Colorado; Backlund good to go for Calgary

by Rick Sadowski / Independent Correspondent

FLAMES (0-0-0) at AVALANCHE (0-0-0)

9 p.m. ET; ALT, SNW, NHL.TV 


The Game

Nazem Kadri will debut with the Colorado Avalanche when they open their season against the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center on Thursday. 

Kadri will center the second line with left wing Tyson Jost and right wing Andre Burakovsky. He was acquired in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 1 for defenseman Tyson Barrie, forward Alexander Kerfoot and a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.

Mikael Backlund will play for the Flames. The forward sustained a lower-body injury in Calgary's preseason finale against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.

The game is a rematch of the Western Conference First Round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when Colorado defeated Calgary in five games. 


Players to watch

Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau is sixth in the NHL in assists (123) and ninth in points (183) over the past two regular seasons. He had an NHL career-high 99 points (36 goals, 63 assists) last season.

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon was seventh with an NHL career-high 99 points (41 goals, 58 assists) last season, the most by a Colorado player since Joe Sakic had 100 in 2006-07.


They said it

"It just feels like we're more business-like at the start of the season. We understand there are 82 hard-fought games and no one's guaranteed a spot (in the playoffs). Everyone will say who should get in or shouldn't, and every year there's a pretty big turnover. We'll put in our work in 82 games to get there." -- Flames defenseman Mark Giordano  

"I think it kind of re-energizes you a little bit. In a sense, I almost feel like a rookie again coming to a new team. Just the feeling of those butterflies, it's just like I'm a kid again." -- Avalanche center Nazem Kadri 


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Elias Lindholm

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Milan Lucic -- Derek Ryan -- Sam Bennett

Andrew Mangiapane -- Mark Jankowski -- Austin Czarnik

Mark Giordano -- TJ Brodie

Noah Hanifin -- Travis Hamonic

Oliver Kylington -- Rasmus Andersson

David Rittich

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Tobias Rieder, Michael Stone

Injured: None


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Tyson Jost -- Nazem Kadri -- Andre Burakovsky

Matt Nieto -- J.T. Compher -- Joonas Donskoi

Matt Calvert -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Valeri Nichushkin

Samuel Girard -- Cale Makar

Nikita Zadorov -- Erik Johnson

Ryan Graves -- Conor Timmins

Philipp Grubauer

Pavel Francouz

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Vladislav Kamenev, Colin Wilson

Injured: Ian Cole (hip surgery)


Status report

Timmins will make his NHL debut after not playing last season to recover from post-concussion symptoms. … Cole took part in the morning skate wearing a non-contact jersey and might not be available until December.


Stat pack

The Flames are 0-8-1 in their past nine season openers, the longest active streak in the NHL. Their last win was a 5-3 victory against the Vancouver Canucks on Oct. 1, 2009. … Colorado is 15-5-3 in home openers since moving from Quebec in 1995 and 3-0-0 under coach Jared Bednar.

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