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Flames-Avalanche Preview
Flames-Avalanche Preview
The Calgary Flames haven't been able to string victories together since last month's lengthy winning streak. To achieve that, they'll have to find a way to beat the Colorado Avalanche on the road, a feat that's been difficult the last three seasons.

The Flames seek their second victory in their last eight visits to Colorado as they complete a home-and-home set against the Avalanche on Thursday night.

Calgary (10-8-1) reeled off a season-high six consecutive victories from Oct. 21-Nov. 1, but has struggled to a 3-5-0 mark since that run. It has allowed 32 goals in those eight games, 10 coming on 40 short-handed situations.

The Flames did, however, turn in a strong effort on Tuesday, peppering Peter Budaj with 51 shots - matching their highest total since a loss at Pittsburgh on Jan. 21, 1997 - in a 4-1 home win over the Avalanche (8-9-0).

Calgary, which is 6-1-1 in its last eight overall games against Colorado, bounced back from a 6-1 loss at San Jose last Thursday by holding an opponent to less than two goals for the first time since beating Colorado 3-0 on Oct. 28.

"It was big on so many levels just because of the way we've played our last few games," said defenseman Adrian Aucoin, who had a goal and an assist in the win.

"Goals-against have been killing us. Penalties have been killing us. We stayed out of the box and played good defense and we put a lot of pucks on net with a lot of traffic, which is something we haven't been doing enough of. It was exactly what we needed."

Calgary improved to 3-0-0 this season against the Avalanche, outscoring them 12-5.

Winning in Denver, though, has been an issue for the Flames, who have dropped six of their last seven (1-5-1) visits there, and are 3-8-1 at Colorado since the start of the 2005-06 season.

After Thursday, the teams meet twice more at the Pepsi Center, where the Avalanche are 15-8-1 with two ties against the Flames since the venue opened in October 1999.

Colorado, which has split four home contests thus far, had its three-game winning streak snapped with Tuesday's defeat. It fell to 3-6-0 since winning five in a row from Oct. 16-25.

"We didn't play very well (Tuesday)," right wing Marek Svatos told the Avalanche's official Web site. "We have to do the simple things better. Everybody has to be in the right position, and we need to win this game. We'll definitely be ready to play."

Colorado, though, won't have injured captain Joe Sakic (back) or forward Ben Guite (ribs) in the lineup. They practiced Wednesday, but may not play until the Avalanche's weekend road trip to Los Angeles and Anaheim.

Budaj made a career-high 47 saves Tuesday, but has surrendered 11 goals on 115 shots in losing all three matchups against Calgary this season. He is 3-1-1 with a 3.21 GAA in seven career home games versus the Flames.

Miikka Kiprusoff boasts a 1.67 GAA and a .932 save percentage in this season's series, but has compiled a 3.30 GAA in losing five of his last six visits to Colorado.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 20, 2008

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