GAME: Colorado Avalanche (17-10-7-1) at Calgary Flames (19-10-3-3).
TIME: Wednesday, 8 p.m. EST.
The Calgary Flames haven't won 11 games in a month in almost 13 years.
Doing it against one of the NHL's elite clubs would be quite an
accomplishment for a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 1996.
Calgary looks to finish off one of the best months in franchise history when
it faces the Colorado Avalanche for the fourth time this season.
The Flames have been one of the league's most surprising teams this season
after finishing seven games under .500 and 12th in the Western Conference in
Calgary, out of the playoffs each of the past seven seasons, is just four
points behind Vancouver for the Northwest Division lead and five back of
Detroit for the most points in the conference.
A 10-2-2 record in December is a big reason why the Flames are currently
among the NHL's top teams.
This is the eighth time in team history Calgary has won 10 games in a month,
and the first since it posted an 11-4-1 mark in March 1991.
Although the Flames outshot Minnesota 46-19 -- 27-6 over the second and third
periods -- they were forced to settle for a 2-2 tie on Monday.
"We deserved to win -- simple," Calgary coach Darryl Sutter said.
"Toughest part about it was the simple fact that with the game they play, it's
hard to get that many scoring chances. It's rare against them, usually it's the
other way around."
Martin Gelinas and Dave Lowry scored second-period goals for the Flames, who
have lost just twice in regulation in their last 20 games (13-2-3-2).
Calgary should get a boost Wednesday with the return of defenseman Denis
Gauthier, who completed a two-game suspension for kneeing Vancouver's Sami Salo
Colorado lost Monday for the first time in regulation this season when
leading after two periods, 3-2 to visiting Vancouver.
Steve Konowalchuk scored twice in the opening period for the Avalanche, who
had been 11-0-1-1 this season when leading after 40 minutes.
"They got a power-play goal tonight, and we had our chances on the power
play and we didn't execute," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. "Generally in
the regular season, the team that wins the specialty battle is going to win the
Colorado, just 1-3-4 in its last eight games, needs left wing Alex Tanguay
to rediscover his scoring touch. He has one goal in 14 games after scoring
eight times in his first 19 contests this season.