CALGARY – The Calgary Flames will put their three-game winning streak on the line against the red-hot Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
While Calgary hasn’t played since beating Edmonton 5-2 at home on Saturday, the Avs will be suiting up for a second straight road game against the Flames after facing off against the Oilers on Tuesday night.
“It’s always nice to be able to get a team on the back end of the back-to-back,” said Calgary defenceman Robyn Regehr. “In those back-to-back games, fatigue might be a little more of a factor. As a home team you want to take advantage of that. You want to jump on teams early.”
Heading into Tuesday night’s action, the Avalanche sat atop the Northwest Division with an 8-1-2 record, while the Flames matched their best-ever start to a season by going 7-2-1 in their first 10 games.
“We want to get to where they’re at right now,” said forward Rene Bourque, who leads the Flames with five goals and nine assists through 10 games.
Having previously played in the minors and on the Chicago Blackhawks with Craig Anderson, Bourque isn’t surprised that the Avalanche goalie owned an impressive 2.14 goals against average and a .936 save percentage heading into Tuesday’s game against the Oilers.
“Obviously their goalie’s been the backbone of their team,” Bourque said. “Anderson’s been giving them a chance to win every night. He’s a fantastic goalie, one of the best I’ve played with. Now he’s finally getting a chance to be a No. 1 guy and he’s running with it.”
While Anderson has played solidly in net, Calgary coach Brent Sutter also pointed to the fact that new Colorado bench boss Joe Sacco has the Avs playing well as a team.
“They’ve got a very strong structured team in how they’re playing and they’re doing it consistently and that’s why they’ve having success,” Sutter said, while adding, “They’ve got lots of skill up front. They’re a quick team.”
Since taking over behind the bench in Calgary this season, Sutter has worked hard to implement his system that requires players to be defensively aware while still getting the job done in the offensive zone.
“We need to just continue to focus on ourselves and what brings the best out of ourselves and how we have to play,” said Sutter. “When we do that, we can match up against anybody.”
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“We’ll be prepared in our style of game to bring what we do and to keep working on that part,” said Iginla, who has scored once and added three assists in the past two games. “We’re looking forward to the challenge.”
For Regehr, playing against Colorado always gives him a little bit more motivation after he was traded to the Flames before he even played a game for Colorado.
“It’s always nice to play well and you’re thinking about that as a player, the fact that they traded you away,” said Regehr, Colorado’s first pick (19th overall) in the 2008 draft. “You maybe want to make them pay by playing well and winning against them. It’s in the back of your mind for sure.”
While he started the season with a minus-seven rating through his first seven games, Regehr has since turned things around and now sits with an even rating heading into Wednesday’s contest.