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Flames try to snap scoring slump vs. Avs

by Tal Pinchevsky

FLAMES (6-8-1) at AVALANCHE (8-7-1)


Last 10:
Calgary 4-5-1; Colorado 3-6-1

Season Series:
This is the third of six meetings between the Northwest Division rivals. Calgary has won the first two, 4-2 on Oct. 26 in Calgary and 2-1 last Sunday in Colorado, a game in which the Avs outshot Calgary 15-7 in the third period but could not overcome a 2-1 deficit.

Big Story: After starting the season 6-2-0, the Avs snapped a four-game losing skid with a 4-3 overtime win Thursday against the Islanders. Struggling to find consistency so far this season, the Flames are embarking on a pivotal stretch in which they play six of their next eight games on the road.

Team Scope:

Calgary has lost two straight and three of its last four games, with offense the biggest problem. The Flames have failed to score more than two goals in five of their last six games and have just four goals combined in their last four.

That troubling trend continued Friday night in Chicago, where the Blackhawks scored in each of the first two periods and Calgary didn't find the back of the net until Olli Jokinen scored with 9:10 remaining in the game. Calgary's only goal in a 4-1 loss snapped a goalless streak of 144:56 that spanned more than two complete games.

Four straight losses and a 1-5-0 home record entering Thursday's game put a damper on Colorado's impressive start. But the Avalanche managed to overcome both trends against the Islanders, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to win it on Kyle Quincey's overtime goal. The comeback started with just 21 seconds remaining in the second period, when Paul Stastny's wrister chipped away at the Islanders lead. In the third, long shots from Milan Hejduk and Jan Hejda beat Al Montoya, who was barraged with 51 shots.

"It was a real good effort," Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said of the comeback. "You don't want to be down 3-0 at any point, but maybe this is something that we can hopefully build on, especially at home. We dug in deep; it was gut check time and we found a way."

Who's Hot:
No one on the Flames roster has been doing much offensively of late, but defenseman Mark Giordano has three points in his last five games. … All-Stars Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny have led the Avs attack, with six points and four points respectively in their last four games.

Injury Report: While Mikael Backlund just returned from a broken finger, Brett Carson (back), Anton Babchuk (hand), and Brendan Morrison (knee) are all on IR. … For Colorado, Brandon Yip (arm) is on IR while Peter Mueller has been out with concussion-like symptoms but could return Saturday.

Stat Pack:
Saturday's matchup features the League's oldest team playing against one of its youngest. Last season, nine of the Avs' top 10 scorers were 30 or younger while four of the Flames' top five scorers last season older than 30. That age disparity isn't restricted to the scoresheet. With an average age of 30.043 years, the Flames are the NHL's oldest team this season, according to The Avalanche meanwhile are the NHL's fourth-youngest team with an average age of 26.703.

Puck Drop: Colorado has lost seven straight against the Flames and hasn't beaten their division rival in more than a year -- the Avs last beat Calgary on Oct. 28, 2010, and they haven't beaten the Flames at home since Dec. 13, 2009.

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