NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, February 26th
(All times eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (31-26-6) at Calgary Flames (33-22-8), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Colorado Avalanche are healthy and ready to fight for a
playoff spot. Knocking off the Northwest Division's first place team would be
a big first step.
The Avalanche will attempt to halt their recent losing ways when they take on
the Calgary Flames tonight at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Colorado dropped a 3-2 test in Edmonton on Sunday for its sixth loss in seven
games. However, despite playing a lengthy stretch with Joe Sakic, Paul Stastny
and Ryan Smyth out of the lineup, the Avalanche are only six points back of
Calgary for first place in the division and four points behind Vancouver and
Nashville for the final two playoff spots in the West.
Tyler Arnason and Ben Guite provided the offense for the Avalanche, while Jose
Theodore allowed three goals on 20 shots in defeat.
Smyth returned to the lineup on February 14 after missing 18 games with a
fractured right ankle, but has yet to post a point in six games since coming
back. Stastny, meanwhile, sat out 15 games due to a appendectomy and groin
injury, but scored in his first game back on Friday against Phoenix. He was
held off the stat sheet on Sunday, however.
The final piece of the puzzle returned on Sunday as well, as Sakic was
activated from injured reserve. The captain hurt his groin in November and
underwent hernia surgery on December 28. He missed a total of 38 games due to
the ailment and registered an assist in over 15 minutes of ice time versus the
Colorado then added a big-name skater with Monday's announcement that it had
signed Peter Forsberg to a contract for the remainder of the season. The 34-
year-old won the Calder Trophy with the Avs franchise in the strike-shortened
1994-95 season and ranks fourth on Colorado's all-time scoring list with 741
points (216 goals and 525 assists) in 580 career games. He won the MVP award
in 2003 and helped guide Colorado to two Stanley Cup Championships.
Forsberg has yet to play at all this season due to lingering ankle and foot
problems, and hasn't played more than 60 games since the 2002-03 campaign. He
had until today's trade deadline to sign with a team in order to be eligible
to play in the postseason.
Colorado is 1-1-1 so far on a five-game road swing that concludes in Nashville
on Wednesday, and is 13-15-4 as the road team this year.
Meanwhile, Calgary has roared to the top of the Northwest standings thanks to
a four-game winning streak. The Flames jumped over Minnesota in the division
after defeating the Wild, 2-1, on Sunday.
Miikka Kiprusoff made 38 saves and was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week
on Monday after going 3-0-0 with a 0.67 goals-against average and one shutout
in three games.
Daymond Langkow and Craig Conroy scored for the Flames. Jarome Iginla, Owen
Nolan, Kristian Huselius and Marcus Nilson had an assist each.
Calgary has won three of four and six of its last eight at home, and is
16-10-7 at Pengrowth Saddledome this season. The Flames play their next two on
The Avs won their first three against the Flames this season, but Calgary has
since ripped off two straight wins in the series. Colorado has won eight of
its last 11 versus the Flames and three of its last five in Calgary.
02/26 10:43:24 ET