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Flames-Avalanche Preview @NHLdotcom
Flames-Avalanche Preview

GAME: Calgary Flames (29-14-5) at Colorado Avalanche (27-19-3).

TIME: Tuesday, 9 p.m. EST.

The Calgary Flames regained sole possession of first place in the NHL's most competitive division Monday night. They'll try to maintain that spot with another division win.

The Flames continue a five-game road swing in Denver against the Colorado Avalanche.

Calgary improved to 14-3-2 against Northwest Division opponents with a 3-1 victory Monday over the Edmonton Oilers.

The Flames' divisional record is even more impressive considering the clubs in the Northwest have the most combined points of any division in the NHL and just 13 points separate the five teams.

Calgary has won four of its last five meetings with Colorado, including two of three this season.

Jarome Iginla scored two goals for the Flames on Monday, his second multi-goal effort in three games. He has eight goals in nine games in January.

"Lately he has been dominating games," said Miikka Kiprusoff, who made 30 saves en route to his league-high 26th win. "It's easy to follow when our leader is playing great."

Kiprusoff has been in net for all four games in Calgary's current winning streak. The Flames are 25-7-3 since opening the season 4-7-2.

The win, coupled with the Vancouver's 4-0 loss Monday to the St. Louis Blues, put Calgary two points ahead of the Canucks. This is the latest in a season the Flames have been in first place since they won the Pacific Division in 1994-95.

The Avalanche have dropped two in a row after a season-high eight-game winning streak. Colorado lost 4-3 Saturday to the Detroit Red Wings.

Detroit jumped out to a 3-1 lead with 16 shots in the first period, and several tough saves by David Aebischer may have prevented a wider margin.

"In the first period, if it wasn't for Abby, it could have been 6-1," said defenseman Rob Blake, who scored his first goal since Dec. 26. "In the first period, they were all over us making plays wherever they wanted."

Aebischer needs one win to match the franchise record of eight wins in January, set by Patrick Roy in 2001.

Colorado is just 2-for-18 on the power play in its last two games, including 0-for-3 with a two-man advantage.

"With a 5-on-3, we've got to find a way to put the puck in the net," Avs captain Joe Sakic said.

STANDINGS: Flames - 63 points, 1st place, Northwest Division. Avalanche - 57 points, 3rd place, 6 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Flames - Iginla, 23 goals and 39 points; Dion Phaneuf, 20 assists; Darren McCarty, 76 PIM. Avalanche - Marek Svatos, 28 goals; Alex Tanguay, 36 assists and 56 points; Ian Laperriere, 70 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Flames - Power play: 17.7 percent (50 for 283), 15th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.3 percent (242 for 294), 15th. Avalanche - Power play: 19.9 percent (62 for 311), 5th. Penalty killing: 84.9 percent (236 for 278), 4th.

GOALTENDERS: Flames - Kiprusoff (26-12-5, 6 SO, 2.25 GAA); Philippe Sauve (3-2-0, 0, 2.62). Avalanche - Aebischer (18-11-0, 2, 3.16); Peter Budaj (6-5-3, 0, 2.80).

SEASON SERIES: Flames, 2-1.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 21; Flames, 3-2 (SO). At Denver, Sauve stopped all three Colorado shootout tries and Tony Amonte scored the game-winner as Calgary improved to 9-1 in November.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flames - 11-10-3 on the road; Avalanche - 15-7-3 at home.

Associated Press

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