500 REASONS TO SMILE
Defenceman Shane O'Brien will play his 500th NHL game tonight and will do so against his former team, the Colorado Avalanche. The rearguard spent the last two seasons in Denver, playing 104 games in Avs silks.
"It's definitely a special feeling. I remember being drafted, I was a very late draft pick. Playing three years in the minors and when I finally played my first NHL game, I was probably just happy with that.
"To play my 500th tonight, it's pretty special ... It's a pretty cool feeling and obviously without the support of my mom, dad and sister, I would have never [gotten] here. I'll definitely be thinking of them tonight and it's cool playing my former team."
When asked about his most memorable moment in the league, O'Brien pointed to his first NHL goal. He scored against Dominik Hašek in a 4-1 Anaheim Ducks win over the Detroit Red Wings on October 18, 2006 and completed a Gordie Howe hat trick that night with an assist and a fight with Brad Norton.
"The Ducks did a real classy thing and got me the puck and framed it. The three stars that night ... Getzlaf was third, Niedermayer was second and I was first. That was probably the only time that was ever going to happen in the history of the NHL.
"I've got it back at my house in Ontario. It was a special night and I ended up giving my stick from my first goal to my dad."
NEW FACE IN NET
After backing up Reto Berra in the first three games of the Flames road swing, Karri Ramo will get the start at the Pepsi Center. The Finnish netminder has played in 6 games this season, going 2-3-1. He has a 3.49 GAA and a .888 save percentage.
Head coach Bob Hartley noted there could changes in his lineup, both up front and on defence, but said they will game-time decisions.
Winger Sven Baertschi, who has sat as a healthy scratch the last two games, could draw back in tonight. He has spent a lot of time on a line with Sean Monahan and Jiri Hudler this year and could possibly jump back there.
Defenceman Derek Smith is another player who could possibly slide back into the lineup tonight.
AVS ROSTER NOTES
Former Flames winger Alex Tanguay will not play due to a knee injury he sustained on Nov. 2. He will miss a minimum of 2 weeks.
VS. THE AVS
All-time vs. the Avalanche: 66-53-20-7
All-time vs. the Avalanche in Denver: 21-22-5-3
2012-13 Series: 2-2-0
Jiri Hudler buried the Avalanche last year with 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) in 3 games. Mike Cammalleri was also very productive when facing Colorado, registering 4 goals in 4 games vs. the Avalanche. Cammalleri scored both game-winners against the Avalanche in the 2012-13 campaign.
"Hopefully we get a win tonight and I can celebrate my 500th the right way." - O'Brien on his 500th career game
MILESTONES WITHIN REACH
Tim Jackman needs 2 games for 400.
Shane O'Brien needs 1 game for 500.
Dennis Wideman needs 3 games for 600.
TJ Galiardi needs 8 points for 100.
Sportsnet West will broadcast tonight's game at 7:00 PM MST with Rob Kerr providing play-by-play and Charlie Simmer providing colour commentary. Sportsnet 960 The FAN will carry the radio broadcast with play-by-play from Peter Maher and colour commentary from Peter Loubardias.
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