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On Saturday night in Denver, the Flames begin a three-game road trip. A win would give them some much needed breathing room as they continue their pursuit of a playoff spot.
The Flames must improve their goal-scoring accuracy, especially when facing opponents who can capitalize on their speed and skill. Furthermore, they need to make fewer turnovers and display greater discipline throughout their game.
On Saturday night, the Los Angeles Kings travel to Denver to face off against the Calgary Flames. Though they have had their share of difficulties lately, they remain in contention for a wild card spot in the Pacific Division race - four points behind Seattle for first place and six behind Edmonton for third.
The team will have some talented players on the ice and it is their chance to continue their winning streak. There is some consistency in their lineup and goaltending has improved; thus, they are closer to reaching their goals than before the All-Star break.
Some players are making an impact on the ice. From Sean Durzi blocking shots to Jaret Anderson-Dolan standing up for his linemate against Edmonton, this group has shown they are willing to put in effort on and off the ice. They may not be superstars yet, but they have all contributed over the last 14 games.
Since the All-Star Break, their approach to playing has drastically shifted. They are more aggressive defensively, have increased hustle on the ice and are playing with much greater passion than before the break.
They have become more aggressive offensively and put the puck in the net, which has allowed them to gain ground on teams they are trying to catch. Their drive for playoff berth is stronger than ever, and with hard work on the ice they hope to achieve success.
Over the past 14 games, they have blocked an average of 17.9 shots per 60 minutes at all strengths - the highest total in NHL history during that time frame.
The Kings have a great chance of winning this one, but they must perform as well on the ice as they did against Boston. If they do, it could be enough for them to maintain their winning streak.
They must get some key players healthy for next week in order to finish off the regular season and make a deep run in the playoffs. If they do, then they will be well on their way towards doing just that.
The Vancouver Canucks have been one of the most frustrating teams this season. They are in a fierce fight for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with Edmonton and Vegas, and come off another loss that left them with plenty of questions and unanswered goals.
The Canucks started the game off strong with a commanding 3-0 first period lead but were ultimately undone late by Edmonton. This season has seen Vancouver become increasingly susceptible to blowing its leads away and that has proved costly this season.
They must play a full sixty-minute game and not panic when behind. Watching the Canucks lose games where they get off to an excellent start only to collapse and concede late is truly heartbreaking.
The Calgary Flames are currently ranked second in the Pacific Division and hold a two-point lead over the Phoenix Coyotes for the last playoff spot in West. Coming off of their 4-1 loss to Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night in Denver, Calgary returns home ice Tuesday against the Coyotes for another crucial game.
This game is crucial for the Flames as they attempt to snap their longest winless streak in franchise history. They must also demonstrate tremendous heart in order to defeat a team looking to make the playoffs for the first time ever.
Fortunately for the Flames, they boast some talented players such as Matthew Tkachuk and Jonathan Huberdeau in their lineup. Both were injured earlier this season but are slowly making a comeback to play for their team again.
These players are still young, but they have the potential to develop into great NHL players in the future. Furthermore, Calgary Flames players are getting stronger and better defensively as a unit.
The Flames will play their home games at Scotiabank Saddledome in downtown Calgary. This is an ideal venue to go watch a game and there is plenty to do around the arena. Families will love visiting this family-friendly destination that has plenty of food and drinks available.
On Saturday night, the Edmonton Oilers attempt to snap their three-game skid against the Colorado Avalanche. Entering this matchup with an 11-11-6 record, they sit just one point ahead of Nashville Predators for eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
On Thursday night, the Avalanche suffered a 4-2 loss to Vancouver. Though their offense has been strong all season long, their power play has struggled this season; currently sitting dead last with just 27.7% success rate when given man-advantage.
On the penalty kill, they have been unbeatable. In five games during their winning streak, they've allowed only two goals on man-advantage and held opponents to a league-low 1.3% shooting percentage this season.
They must improve against a Colorado team that has won nine of its last 10 games but has lost four straight to the Oilers. Furthermore, they need to find a way to avoid the third period slump that's plagued them since their 4-2-1 start.
In their last 20 games, the Oilers have posted an unenviable record in the third period: scoring just 11 goals while allowing 24. Additionally, they've struggled mightily in overtime; failing to score a goal in six of those contests.
That's a major issue in an NHL where it's often best to take advantage of those chances you get during the middle frame. The Oilers need to do that more often and more effectively than they have so far this season.
Another thing they need to do is boost production from their centremen. Leon Draisaitl is an impressive player, but he's trailing behind other centers in terms of both production and goal share.
The Oilers boast a talented roster with players who can contribute big points in various roles. But they've been plagued by injuries lately, which could prove crucial tonight. Jeff Petry is day to day (ribs), Anton Lander may be out for the season and Viktor Fasth has been dealing with a knee issue which could keep him sidelined for some time.
The Calgary Flames are embarking on a three-game road trip in less than 24 hours. After finishing up in Winnipeg on Friday night, they flew back to Denver to face an important opponent. On one hand, they may be tired and ready for some rest; on the other hand, they'll be fired up and motivated to perform well.
The Ducks are known for their fast, furious style of play and have recently showcased it against Detroit, winning two of four meetings 2-0. They rank third in goals per game in the league and boast the second-best record in NHL.
If they could defeat the Wings, their playoff chances would be drastically enhanced. That would put them within striking distance of the top wild card spot in the Western Conference and put them in an ideal position to take care of their remaining two home games and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
They have been unable to score on Chicago in the first three games of this series, but are starting to click now. Their chemistry is truly clicking and players are working together on each other's weaknesses. Chicago has been able to turn some loose pucks around and even got a goal off Mark Giordano - now equalling NHL history for blocked shots!
Their best chance to win this series may lie in playing some hockey in the offensive zone. They have plenty of scoring chances there, and if they can start getting the ball to their top line, it could prove devastating for them.
Today the Ducks will be without Sammy Pahlsson and George Parros, plus Ryan Kesler who is likely out with an injury. However, they do have some capable players like Scott Niedermayer who has two goals and nine assists since returning from semi-retirement midway through the season. Additionally, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler make up a formidable defensive pairing averaging over 30 minutes of ice time each week.