SaltWire's Ask a Journalist: You have questions, let's find some ...
The latest weather columns and browse beautiful photos from Cindy Day
SaltWire's cartoonists bring heart and humour to the news.
NOW Atlantic: Smart thinking for a changing world
The latest on Nova Scotia's mass shooting
What you need to know about COVID-19: July 3
Visit SaltWire.com for more of the stories you want.
Colorado Avalanche (12-6-2) vs. Calgary Flames (10-10-3)
7 p.m., Scotiabank Saddledome, Sportsnet One/Sportsnet 960 The Fan
THE BIG MATCHUP
Flames LW Johnny Gaudreau vs. Avalanche C Nathan MacKinnon
Although these two may not go head-to-head directly on the ice, they’re two of the biggest stars in the National Hockey League. And how do they stack up right now? MacKinnon is crushing it, and doing it without his injured buddies, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. The pride of Coal Harbour, N.S., was named the NHL’s second star of the week on Monday. Currently, he’s pacing the Avs with 13 goals and 16 assists in 20 games. That was padded, of course, by a four-goal, three-assist performance in three games. Johnny Gaudreau, meanwhile, is supposed to be the team’s offensive wizard, and in the Flames’ recent four-game slump, he has one assist. He was a career-worst minus-5 on Sunday. Time to step up, and why not against one of the NHL’s best players?
FIVE STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
Fans everywhere have officially hit the panic button. After Sunday’s 6-0 thrashing by the Golden Knights, Matthew Tkachuk called it “disgusting.” The Flames forward is not wrong. Neither are the team’s supporters. Everything is indicating that this group is — officially — in trouble. They have allowed the sixth-most goals in the league at 70 and have scored 58 goals which was tied with three other teams for the 11th-most anemic offence in the NHL. Their power play has also been quiet, going 1-for-11 during the team’s last four games. During their losing skid, they’ve been out-scored 15-3 with a goal-less drought that has lasted 130:03. Yeah, it’s about time to panic.
Sunday was Calgary’s ninth loss of the season when trailing after two periods while their record when faced with that situation is 3-9-2. It’s also the 15th time in 23 games in 2019-20 that the Flames have given up the first goal. The trend is noticeable. So is the fact they have scored only one goal in the last three games. “It feels like it’s just hard to get it to go in right now,” Flames head coach Bill Peters said after Monday’s game. “It needs to go in for them, right? To get some of that pressure off and alleviate some of that gripping of the stick. You see that. You overthink it, and you are probably starting to pass when you should shoot and shoot when you should pass.”
Rocky Mountain rematch
And how about that for timing? The Flames host the Avalanche for the first time this season at the Saddledome. The band-aid was ripped off early and the springtime playoff exit was dissected in great detail (read: salt poured in their wounds) as the Flames were in the Mile High City to kick off the 2019-20 campaign. That meeting — the first game of the season — ended in a 5-3 loss as Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau both scored on the power play while Mark Giordano also tallied and David Rittich saw 32 Avalanche attempts in the losing effort. They won’t have to wait long after this one, though, as they head to Colorado on Dec. 9.
All about the Avs
Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar will be inducted into the 2020 class of the ECHL Hall of Fame … The Avs have scored 73 goals this season, second-best in the NHL … There’s a good chance that both of Colorado’s injured netminders, Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz, will be good to go Tuesday as both skated Monday … A brutal sequence of events happened in Vancouver when the Canucks were pressing in the third period and Elias Pettersson sent a shot towards the net which was blocked by Matt Calvert, who was sprawled on the ice in front of the Canucks’ forward. Calvert was in obvious discomfort, but officials let the play continue as Vancouver had possession at an important part of the game. Vancouver scored on the play, but the Avalanche players were furious as Calvert was in obvious distress and officials did not call for a stoppage. “It’s a complete joke,” said Avs defenceman Erik Johnson said of the referees adherence to the rules in that situation rather than considering Calvert’s safety. “An absolute joke. They should be ashamed of themselves.”
This ‘n’ that
With back-to-back losses in the Desert, the Flames have now dropped four straight games and three in regulation and are 4-5-1 in the last 10 games … Last year, through 20 games, the team was 11-8-1. The next 20, they went 13-4-3. The Flames through 20 this year? Similar at 10-7-3. The next 20? Well, so far they’ve lost three straight in regulation, but could this be their rallying point? … After limping back into Calgary on Sunday night and having a day-off Monday, the team returns to Scotiabank Saddledome for one game Tuesday. They’ll head out on a four-game road-trip to St. Louis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Buffalo while the 107th Grey Cup festivities are ongoing in the city.
Andre Burakovsky — Nathan MacKinnon — Joonas Donskoi
(TBD) — Nazem Kadri — JT Compher
Matt Nieto — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Valeri Nichushkin
Jayson Megna — Vadislav Kamenev — T.J. Tynan
Samuel Girard — Erik Johnson
Ryan Graves — Cale Makar
Ian Cole — Nikita Zadorov
Johnny Gaudreau — Sean Monahan — Elias Lindholm
Andrew Mangiapane — Mikael Backlund — Matthew Tkachuk
Milan Lucic — Derek Ryan — Dillon Dube
Tobias Rieder — Mark Jankowski — Michael Frolik
Mark Giordano — Rasmus Andersson
Noah Hanifin – Travis Hamonic
Oliver Kylington – Michael Stone
Avalanche — LW Matt Calvert (head), RW Mikko Rantanen, LW Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body), C Tyson Jost (upper body).
Flames — LW Sam Bennett (upper body), RW Austin Czarnik (lower body), D Juuso Valimaki (knee), TJ Brodie (medical issue)
SPECIAL TEAMS (before Monday’s action)
Avalanche: 19.0% (17th)
Flames: 17.3% (13-for-73, 19th)
Avalanche: 77.8% (20th)
Flames: 85.5% (6th)
— Kristen Anderson
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019