With their third game in four nights, the road weary Colorado Avalanche are hoping to right the ship the Calgary Flames Thursday night at Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Avalanche are still looking for their first win of the season outside of Colorado and are hoping the team’s fourth consecutive game away from the Pepsi Center is more forgiving than the first three bouts of their current road trip.
Both the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks have shut out Colorado on their current swing. In fact, the Avalanche have managed just one goal in the their last three games, a 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
The struggling offense finds itself without two key components from a year ago. 20-year-old captain Gabriel Landeskog remains sidelined after a Brad Stuart hit against the Sharks Saturday. Ryan O’Reilly, the team’s leading scorer last season with 55 points, remains without a contract.
Other members of the Avalanche will need to step up to put pucks past Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and end a slump that has Colorado 14th in the Western Conference.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
After scoring 18 goals and 67 points riding shotgun to John Tavares of the New York Islanders, Parenteau signed a four-year, $16 million contract to play in Colorado. With just 43 career goals in 192 NHL games, Parenteau will be motivated to prove his value to the Avalanche and confirm he can do it without his former center. Though the season is young, he’s done just that early with three goals and four points in six games.
After a career-worst 37 points last season, the 36-year-old Hejduk will set out to prove there’s still gas left in the tank. The veteran forward and former Avalanche captain who has hit the 30-goal plateau five different times in his career needs just three more games to become the first Avalanche player to suit up for 1,000 games with the franchise and is the only remaining teammate from Alex Tanguay's tenure in Colorado.
Colorado’s leaning scorer through the first six games of the season, Duchene is out to prove last season’s 14 goals and 28 points were a mere speed bump in his development. The former third overall pick from the 2009 NHL Draft is one of the franchise’s cornerstones and a strong season with further solidify the 22-year-old as a top forward in Colorado.
BY THE NUMBERS
Record This Season: 2-4-0 (14th in Western Conference)
Calgary’s Record Head-To-Head Last Year: 4-1-1
Calgary’s Record All-Time: 64-51-20-7
Record Last Season: 41-35-6 (11th in Western Conference)
Who’s In: Bryan Lerg, John Mitchell, PA Parenteau, Thomas Pock, Bill Thomas, Geoff Walker, Greg Zanon
Who’s Out: Jay McClement, Peter Mueller, Kevin Porter
Top Scorers vs. Flames: David Jones – 3G 1A 4P
Flames Top Scorers: Curtis Glencross – 3G 2A 5P
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