FLAMES (14-21-6) at AVALANCHE (26-11-4)
TV: SNET-W, ALT
Last 10: Calgary 2-6-2; Colorado 5-2-3
Season series: This is the final game between the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche. The Avs have won each of the previous two, the most recent coming on Dec. 6, 2013 at Scotiabank Saddledome, when Colorado edged Calgary, 3-2.
Big story: The Avalanche have fallen off the pace from their impressive start earlier this season, but Colorado is still comfortably in playoff position. The Avs, who are in the midst of a seven-game homestand, go for their fourth consecutive win against a struggling Flames team that hasn't won in regulation in more than a month, a span of 14 games.
Flames: Scoring droughts are hardly rare in the NHL, but the Flames are enduring one of the roughest ones in recent memory. Calgary has been shut out in three of its past four games while scoring one goal over that span. Unsurprisingly, the Flames have lost all four games despite each of them coming at home.
"It hasn't been an easy week," Flames coach Bob Hartley said Sunday. "That's for sure, but at the same time, that's part of a rebuilding program. You're going to hit your bumps in the road."
Perhaps most alarming is the lack of offense marks a significant opportunity lost for Calgary, which has received strong goaltending throughout its current losing streak. The Flames have given up more than two goals once in the past four games.
Hartley said on Sunday goalie Karri Ramo will get his second consecutive start on Monday. Ramo made 27 saves in the Flames' last game, a 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.
Avalanche: Colorado currently sits third in the Central Division, but trails the second-place St. Louis Blues by seven points. That the Avs still face that deficit after three consecutive wins speaks to the strength of the division's top three teams of Colorado, St. Louis and the Chicago Blackhawks, but climbing closer to St. Louis isn't out of the question. The Avalanche have three games remaining on their current homestand, each of which is against an opponent currently outside of playoff position.
The winning streak hasn't come without adversity, however. In Colorado's most-recent game against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday, the Avalanche nearly let a 4-0 disappear in an eventual 4-3 win.
"We obviously don't want to let them back in the game like that," Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon said. "They're a team that pushed hard. They came close, but thankfully we hung on to get the win. [Goalie Semyon Varlamov] really bailed us out, like he usually does when we get the win."
After facing the Flames, Colorado closes out its homestand against the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders.
Who's hot: MacKinnon has four goals and an assist in the past four games for Colorado.
Injury report: Flames forwards Lee Stempniak (undisclosed injury) and Lance Bouma (illness) are both questionable. Forwards Blair Jones (meniscus tear), Curtis Glencross (lower-body injury) and Kris Russell (MCL sprain) are all on injured reserve. … Avalanche forwards PA Parenteau (knee injury) and Alex Tanguary (knee injury) are on IR.
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