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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 6th (All times Eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (19-7-0) at Calgary Flames (10-13-4), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Having won back-to-back games for just the second time this season, the Calgary Flames will try to extend their winning run on Friday night as they play host to the Colorado Avalanche.
Following a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles on Nov. 30, the Flames picked up consecutive wins for the first time since Oct. 9-11 as they bested the Phoenix Coyotes 4-1 on Wednesday night. Defenseman Mark Giordano had a goal and an assist in his return to the lineup, while T.J. Brodie also scored and helped set up another.
Mikael Backlund and Lee Stempniak added goals for the Flames, who are trying to win three in a row for the first time this season. That should be easier to accomplish with Giordano back after he missed the last 18 games with a broken ankle.
The 30-year-old captain logged 20 minutes and 28 seconds of ice time in his first game since Oct. 21, providing a much-needed spark to the Calgary lineup.
"The way that this guy works in the gym, the way that he prepares ... he's the ultimate pro and that's why he's our captain," Calgary head coach Bob Hartley said of Giordano.
Hartley got 29 saves from Karri Ramo, who had been in net for both games of this win streak and will make his third start in a row tonight.
Ramo is now 4-4-1 with a 3.00 goals against average this season and has lost both of his previous career starts versus the Avalanche. That includes a 4-2 setback in Colorado on Nov. 8, when he gave up three goals on 26 shots faced.
That defeat snapped the Flames' two-game win streak over the Avs and Colorado has won five of the last seven meetings overall.
Colorado has lost five of its past seven in Calgary and will give Jean- Sebastien Giguere the start tonight. He is 18-13-1 with a pair of ties and a 2.34 GAA lifetime versus the Flames, making 30 saves in the home victory in November.
Giguere is 6-0-0 with a 1.62 GAA and two shutouts in seven starts overall this season.
His scheduled start tonight was part of the reason Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy kept Semyon Varlamov in net for the duration of last night's 8-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Varlamov made just 20 saves and three of the goals he allowed came with less than five minutes to play.
Roy said he felt the game was closer than the score indicated and didn't put any of the blame on his goaltender.
"I could have pulled him after the fourth goal, but I thought that would have been unfair," said Roy. "They scored two breakaways, a 2-on-1 situation, a power play, perfect shot. To bring (Giguere) in with three minutes left when it's 5-2 I think would have been unfair to him too. He's scheduled to play (Saturday). Going in cold, hurt his groin, we're not in a better position."
Nick Holden and PA Parenteau did score second-period goals to make it a 3-2 game before the Oilers pulled away.
"We knew before the game that it's a team that would be dangerous if we exchanged chances with them. We just played into their game tonight and we need to learn from it," Roy admitted.
Colorado, which had won two straight and five of six coming in, went 0-for-6 on the power play and are 0-for-15 in the past five games.
The Avs lost the opener of their three-game swing through Western Canada and visit Vancouver on Sunday.
12/06 10:58:03 ET
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