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Friday, March 1, 2024
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HomeSportsHockeyNHL News: Flames look for continued teamwork on visit to Avalanche

NHL News: Flames look for continued teamwork on visit to Avalanche


The Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche traveled on a similar path over the past week.

Both clubs had disappointing losses at Nashville and big victories at Dallas, and each won on the road on Friday night.

Something will have to give when the Flames play at the Avalanche on Saturday night in Denver to complete a back-to-back set.

Calgary likely is feeling good following its 7-4 win over the Stars on Friday night. The Flames scored the last five goals, four coming in the third period, to improve to 4-1-1 in their last six games.

“We’re a good team when we’re all playing together,” Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane said recently. “I like the way we’ve been competing. When we’re working hard, that’s when we’re at our best. We have to do more of that.”

It was apparent in the win at Dallas, a game in which Calgary received a goal by seven different players. Blake Coleman scored his sixth goal of the season to forge a 4-4 tie at the 1:53 mark of the third period, and Elias Lindholm got what proved to be the game-winning goal just 29 seconds later.

The Flames have scored at least four goals in four of their past five games and they need to keep their offense going in this tough stretch. Starting with Friday’s game in Dallas, they will play nine of 10 games against teams with winning records, including two each against Colorado and Vegas.

The Avalanche have won five of six despite having some recent adversity. They’ve been without top-line forward Artturi Lehkonen due to a neck injury he sustained Nov. 9 against Seattle, and he was placed on long-term injured reserve.

Just as serious is the situation with defenseman Samuel Girard. The NHL and NHL Players Association announced Friday that Girard will be away from the team indefinitely while receiving care from the Player Assistance Program.

Girard, through his agency, CAA, posted on Twitter that he made the proactive decision to enter the program “for severe anxiety and depression that has gone untreated for too long and led to alcohol abuse.”

Without Girard, who last played Nov. 18 at the Stars, Caleb Jones likely will get an extended opportunity with Colorado. He was recalled from the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League before a Nov. 13 win at Seattle and has played in all six games since joining the Avalanche.

His time with Colorado was in jeopardy when Josh Manson returned from an upper-body injury Monday, but Jones could become a mainstay on the blue line with Girard out for the foreseeable future.

Little-used Kurtis MacDermid scored his first goal of the season on Friday night. His tally at 4:56 of the third period stood up as the winner in the 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

“It was kind of an out-of-body experience,” MacDermid said on the TNT postgame broadcast.

Valeri Nichushkin scored a goal for the sixth straight game. He now has nine goals on the season.

–Field Level Media

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