Calgary’s No. 1 line of center Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Micheal Ferland is having a November to remember as the Flames complete a six-game road trip Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche. The trio has combined for 22 goals and 21 assists in 10 games this month after Friday’s 6-4 loss at Dallas left Calgary 2-2-1 on its trek.
Monahan scored twice on Friday, giving him a team-high 14 goals this season and six in his last four games, while Gaudreau’s tally against Dallas gave him eight in his last eight contests as he scored in all but one of them. Colorado is coming off a 3-2 shootout loss in Minnesota on Friday that extended its point streak to three games (2-0-1) as backup Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves in his third straight start. “Solid road game,” Bernier told reporters. “Obviously, we don’t want to give them an extra point, but we competed really hard, we managed to come back in the game. So I thought, overall, it was a really solid performance.” Avalanche No. 1 goaltender Semyon Varlamov missed his third straight game because of illness and will be a game-time decision on Saturday as Andrew Hammond, who was acquired from Ottawa in the deal for Matt Duchene, has been backing up Bernier.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, CBC (Calgary), Altitude (Colorado)
ABOUT THE FLAMES (12-9-1): Monahan, Gaudreau (11 goals) and Ferland (nine) have accounted for 51.5 percent of Calgary’s goals this season, with Mikael Backlund fourth on the club with five. Troy Brouwer notched an assist Friday - the only point registered by someone other than Monahan, Gaudreau and Ferland, giving him four this season as he still looks for his first goal after averaging 18 over the previous nine campaigns. Mike Smith (11-7-1) stopped 35 shots on Friday, lowering his save percentage to .922.
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (11-8-2): Colorado’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon (team-high 25 points), Mikko Rantanen (19) and captain Gabriel Landeskog (17) was quiet Friday, with the latter recording an assist. MacKinnon had registered six goals and 14 assists in his previous 10 games, including three assists in Wednesday’s 3-0 victory at Dallas, with Rantanen (five goals, seven assists in last 10 contests) and Landeskog (six, five in past 11) also putting up big numbers of late. Defenseman Samuel Girard, who came from Nashville in the three-team trade involving Duchene, continues his solid play as he is plus-4 while averaging 21 minutes, 45 seconds of ice time in seven games with the Avalanche.
1. Half of Monahan’s goals have come on the power play while Gaudreau has recorded 11 of his 23 assists with the man advantage.
2. Colorado is 1-for-19 on the power play over its last four games while the Flames are 9-for-9 on the penalty kill in their past three contests.
3. Calgary won all three meetings last season by a combined 14-6 score, with Gaudreau recording four goals and two assists while Monahan netted one tally and set up five others.
PREDICTION: Avalanche 3, Flames 2