Colorado Avalanche (9-11-5) at Calgary Flames (16-8-2)
|Date & Time||Thursday December 4, 2014, 9:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Calgary Flames -130 / Colorado Avalanche +118 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Avalanche head into Calgary on Thursday night looking to end the Flames' three game winning streak while the home side looks to keep pace in the competitive Pacific division.
The Avalanche look to play the spoiler role in Calgary on Thursday in a matchup where many before the preseason would have thought the Avs would be the big favourites but through the first quarter of the season it has been the young Flames that have looked like the playoff team. Colorado is a tough team to sort out as they weren't as bad as their record indicated two seasons and weren't as good as last year's Central division crown and now they are somewhere in the middle but the only difference is that expectations are sky high this season after last year's surprising run. Colorado is a good team with plenty of young talent but they haven't been able to push through yet this year and rejoin the elite in the Western Conference while their counterparts tonight have taken on the role of overachiever and could very well end up in the postseason. Semyon Varlamov gets back in the saddle tonight and he will go up against Karri Ramo in what should be a tight contest.
The Flames have been the feel good story of the young NHL season and heading into the second quarter of the year the Flames sit in a very comfortable position in the Pacific division as they're 16-8-2 so far and don't look to be slowing down any time soon. Calgary has a very nice core of young players with plenty more on the way and while some expected Calgary to finish near the bottom of the standings and land one more piece to an already impressive puzzle it looks like they are ready to make the jump now. They are without Sam Bennett – the fourth overall pick in this year's draft – as he continues to nurse from offseason shoulder surgery and whether they decide to bring him up at all once healthy remains to be seen but with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan playing well it might be best to send him back to Kingston. I expected Calgary to be favoured a little more than they are in this spot as the Avs just haven't been the same this season but I actually like them here as I think with Varly back in the net they will be amped up and talent wise I still believe the Avs are a step ahead and we get them at a nice price here.