Flames Hot on Avs Heels

The Calgary Flames are making a run for the playoffs. No longer challenging the Detroit Red Wings who have been red-hot since getting healthy, the Flames are closing in on the Colorado Avalanche. Wednesday night both the Flames and Avs played, with only a four point difference between the two. 

In Calgary, the Flames took advantage of home ice advantage and stunned the Coyotes 2-1. It was an intense game, filled with a couple of penality opportunities, and the Flames Rene Bourque and Ales Kotalik both scored for them. Coyotes refused to be shut out and Lee Stempniak got one at 13:08 in the third. Since joining the Coyotes on March 4, 2010, Stempniak has played 14 games and only been denied a point in three of them. He’s had 13 goals and 3 assists. Important to note, the Coyotes did not play goalie superstar Ilya Bryzgalov, opting to give him the night off and let Jason LaBarbera play instead.

In Denver, on the otherhand, Colorado was faltering, mis-stepping and looking tired. Shots were going wide, turnovers were occurring in the neutral zone, and the man between the pipes was in his 67th game.  Ducks left superstars Ryan Getzlaf and Jonas Hiller home and instead opted for Curtis McElhinney, former Colorado College goalie to start. Doesn’t seem like they needed all their star power, as forwards Teemu Selanne got his 601st career goal against his former club (his 600th was also against the Avs, he now is tied with Jari Kuri who played for the Avalanche at one point in time,) and Jason Blake walked away with five points and the Avs still maintained they were not worried and they did all the little things right. Yes all the little things that still couldn’t produce a W.

Tonight the battle continues in Denver. The Calgary Flames are hoping to tie the Colorado Avalanche for eighth in the conference.  Two big names are back for the Avs, Brandon Yip (rookie forward) and Stephane Yelle (veteran forward) are back in action. What does this mean for the Avs? Well it means they get to share the responsibility with these two guys to help dig them out of the hole they got themselves into.

Why does Calgary have the overall advantage? They have experience, they have been winning, confidence, and Bourque has been giving the Avs some trouble of late. Plus if Andy’s in goal they just need to find his weak point and exploit. The only advantage the Avalanche have? They have one more game than Calgary does, so they have one last chance to get their ducks in a row and try and make the playoffs.

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